First Solar Inks Deal for Huge Solar Plant - TheStreet

CALGARY, Alberta and TEMPE, Az. (

TheStreet

) --

First Solar

(FSLR) - Get Report

and

Enbridge

(ENB) - Get Report

are expanding the existing Sarnia Solar Project from 20 megawatts of capacity to 80 megawatts. The expansion is projected to cost CND $300 million and be completed in the second half of 2010.

If finished on schedule, the Sarnia site will be the largest photovoltaic solar energy facility in North America.

At a time when

the feed-in tariff system in Germany is the biggest threat to continued solar company health in the European market, Ontario's new tariff system has caught the attention of the solar industry.

Canadian Solar

(CSIQ) - Get Report

has also constructed a plant in Canada to take advantage of Ontario's new tariff regime.

In October, Enbridge acquired the initial 20 MW of the Sarnia solar energy project from First Solar, and the project just went into full commercial operation on Dec. 7. Enbridge has been busy building up its renewable energy portfolio, and in addition to solar has expanded its wind energy capabilities.

First Solar was down to 0.4% in Tuesday afternoon trading.

The 60 MW phase of the Sarnia project is expected to begin construction in December and be completed by December 2010. The 80 MW is projected to generate enough power to meet the needs of over 12,800 homes and help to save the equivalent of approximately 39,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The power output of the 80 MW facility will be sold to the Ontario Power Authority pursuant to 20-year Power Purchase Agreements under the terms of the Ontario Government's Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program.

"Our recent investments in green energy projects in Ontario -- including the 99 MW Talbot Wind Energy Project, our 190 MW Enbridge Ontario Wind Project, and the Sarnia Solar Project -- are evidence of Enbridge's commitment to advancing environmentally preferred energy solutions, and of the value of the Ontario government's proactive support and encouragement of investment within the province," said Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel in the statement announcement the expanded Sarnia project.

RELATED STORIES:

>>Do Solar Firms Face German D-Day?

>>Barclays Boosts Three Solar Companies

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-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.

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