While the contract hasn’t been finalized, analysts are predicting that First Solar will win the rights to supply NextEra Energy Inc. with solar arrays for what will be the world’s largest solar farm. The two companies are currently working together on the 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight solar farm in Riverwide County, California.
NextEra’s Blythe project, based in southern California, will soon surpass the capacity of Arizona’s Agua Caliente solar farm, a huge facility built exclusively by First Solar that is currently 85 percent complete with 250 megawatts of capacity. Despite the fact that there has been no official word as to who NextEra will choose to build and supply the new project, First Solar is reportedly the only manufacturer of thin-film panels large enough to handle the job, according to analysts interviewed by Bloomberg News; the Blythe project will have a final capacity of 1,000 megawatts, requiring an extensive amount and array of materials.
With the economy currently facing unprecedented turmoil, especially in the renewable energy sector, First Solar has seen its stock drop 68 percent in the past year. Today’s speculation, however, gave the company a much-needed boost, bumping its stock up 11 percent while reminding the industry just how deep its manufacturing capabilities are.
“It would definitely be a positive for First Solar if they were able to win a 1,000-megawatt project,” said Ben Schuman, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities.
Despite the rampant speculation, a spokesman for Florida-based NextEra reiterated that the company has yet to choose a panel provider for the project, suggesting that they may work with more than one supplier.