Buffett project’s record low cost part of pricing ‘trend’, says First Solar

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Solar developer First Solar has agreed to sell power at US$0.0387/kWh, thought to be the lowest electricity price ever, from a 100MW solar plant to utility NV Energy, according to a filing with the Public utilities Commission of Nevada.

A First Solar spokesperson told PV Tech that its Playa Solar 2 project, located in the Solar Energy Zone in Clark County, Nevada, is expected to be fully operational by December 2016, along with the commencing of a 20-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy, an indirect subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company.

Referring to the price of electricity, the spokesperson added: “First Solar believes this level of pricing is reflective of a trend we are seeing – in the US and other parts of the world – where lower costs are driving greater demand for solar.  We expect to see more PPAs pricing out at comparable levels.”

However, in the case of this project, the price is not fixed and will escalate by 3% per annum.

NV Energy said: “While the First Solar contract does not include a fixed price for the term of the contract, it escalates at a reasonable and fixed rate.”

The Commission filing also said that, last year, NV Energy paid US$0.137/kWh for renewable energy sources, meaning that it has secured power for less than a third of the price of the previous year.

Last month First Solar also signed an agreement to supply PV modules to power the 200MW second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. That project held the previous lowest electricity cost record, after a consortium led by Saudi Arabian firm ACWA Power with Spanish engineering firm TSK bid just US$0.059/kWh.

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