First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced it has started constructing the 139 megawatt Campo Verde Solar Project, located near El Centro in Imperial County, Calif. The solar power plant is expected to be completed in 2013.
Economic benefits of the project include approximately 250 construction jobs, as well as over $230 million in new economic activity to the Imperial Valley, according to a county study.
The project gained the approval it needed on Dec. 18, 2012, from the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) for easements required to cross IID’s Westside Main Canal with the project’s transmission line. Earlier approvals included a decision to issue a Right of Way grant from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and a Conditional Use Permit from Imperial County.
“The County of Imperial is very pleased to see the commencement of construction of the Campo Verde Solar Project, which brings numerous benefits to the Valley and our citizens,” said Ray Castillo, County Board President. “First Solar’s project brings much needed jobs and economic development to the Valley at a time when it is sorely needed. The project also pays added tax revenue, funds for agricultural benefits and community benefits while helping the County diversify its economy. We’ve been working to attract projects like this for the past five or six years and are glad to see it’s finally happening. These projects are really our legacy for the Imperial Valley.”
“First Solar is grateful to the IID, Imperial County, and the BLM for their support of this project,” said James F. Cook, First Solar Project Development Director. “Campo Verde is creating badly needed jobs and will help the county and state reach their renewable energy goals.”
First Solar will construct the project using its advanced thin film PV modules that generate clean, renewable energy with no emissions, waste or water consumption during operation. The project will generate enough electricity to power approximately 50,000 average California homes, displacing 80,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 15,000 cars off the road.