Originally an OptiSolar project, which was acquired along with the rest of the assets of the struggling firm by First Solar, the 20MW Sarnia, Ontario, solar farm will now be expanded to 80MW at a cost of CDN $300 million and completed by the end of 2010 for new owner, Enbridge. Ironically, First Solar had to disclose a shortfall in earnings for its third-quarter financial results due to not completing the expected sale of the Sarnia project in that quarter, which was put at US$58 million of revenue. The Sarnia site was said by First Solar to have achieved full commercial operation on December 7.
“We’re delighted to further strengthen our relationship with First Solar,” said Patrick D. Daniel, president/CEO of Enbridge. “First Solar has delivered the initial 20MW as committed–demonstrating their strong technical competence combined with attention to meaningful community engagement and corporate social responsibility practices that align with our own values.
“Enbridge has made significant strides in growing its green energy business in 2009. With this investment, we will have interests in more than 470MW of green power capacity from our five wind energy projects, expanded solar facilities, four waste heat recovery facilities, and the world’s first commercial application of hybrid-fuel cell technology,” added Daniel.
The next 60MW phase of the project is expected to begin construction this month and be completed by December 2010. First Solar will construct the solar project for Enbridge under a fixed-price engineering, procurement, and construction contract.
First Solar will also provide operations and maintenance services to Enbridge under a long-term contract. The power output of the 80MW 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.