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13 October 2015

First Solar to supply modules to Clean Energy Collective for roofless community solar projects

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services, has executed a module supply agreement (MSA) that facilitates the procurement of modules and other equipment by Clean Energy Collective LLC (CEC) for its growing project pipeline in what is said to be one of the fastest-expanding segments of the solar market. The two firms established a strategic partnership late last year to develop and market community solar offerings to residential customers and businesses directly on behalf of partner utilities.

A solar tech start-up in 2009, CEC claims to have pioneered the model of delivering clean power generation through medium-scale solar PV facilities accessible to all utility customers. Since establishing the first community-owned solar array in the USA in 2010 near El Jebel, Colorado, CEC has built or has under development more than 100 roofless community solar projects with 25 utility partners across 11 states, representing more than 130MW of community solar capacity.

The first four projects to utilize the new MSA are said to demonstrate the variety of benefits available to local communities, as well as versatility in applications of the core technology used for large-scale community solar generation facilities. The portfolio also shows how First Solar and CEC can meet the unique needs of different types of utilities - investor-owned, public power, and rural electric cooperatives.

A facility serving customers of Black Hills Energy in Pueblo, Colorado, will allow individuals to own portions of a fixed-tilt array using First Solar modules and equipment, all developed and administered by CEC. Owners of solar panels will receive direct credit on their Black Hills Energy electric bill for the power produced. A portion of the power produced will also be made available to low-income residents within Black Hills Energy's service territory. The project is the first 'roofless' community solar park in Pueblo and the surrounding area.

In another first, a community solar project in San Antonio, Texas, using First Solar modules mounted on a single-axis tracking system, developed and administered by CEC, will provide customers of CPS Energy with the opportunity to own local, clean energy generation through a CEC-managed program designed to make solar power more affordable and accessible to residential and commercial customers.

A project with the non-profit NEC Retail (Nueces Electric Cooperative) in Corpus Christi, Texas, will bring community-shared solar to south Texas and will be the first large-scale solar garden in a deregulated market. As a non-profit rural electric cooperative, NEC Retail can serve any consumers in Texas that have the ability to choose their electric provider, who can purchase solar modules in the 800kW single-axis tracker array to offset their electric usage charges.

First Solar modules using a special anti-reflective coating (ARC) will be used at a project for Holy Cross Energy in Rifle, Colorado, along with balance of system components from other suppliers. This is the fourth community solar project CEC has worked on with Holy Cross Energy.

First Solar says that, combined, these four projects introduce the concept of community solar to nearly 1 million potential residential users, many of whom would not be able to install solar on their own homes.

"Roofless solar allows the greatest number of consumers to participate in and enjoy the benefits of locally produced clean power," says CEC's founder & CEO Paul Spencer. First Solar technology "allows us to provide the most competitive pricing and greatest value to utilities and their customers," he adds.

"The community solar market promises significant growth, and CEC is clearly well-positioned to lead in this space," comments Eran Mahrer, senior director of business development - Utilities for First Solar. "First Solar's module supply agreement is a tangible demonstration of our ongoing commitment to this strategic partnership."

See related items:

First Solar enters residential market with strategic investment in Clean Energy Collective

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.easycleanenergy.com

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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