(Update) The CEO of solarhybrid said it is enlisting the help of First Solar to help equip a 1.5GW project pipeline it is on the verge of buying from Solar Millennium. First Solar would not confirm the existence of the supposed deal, telling PV-Tech it had no comment at this time.
At a press conference in Berlin, solarhybrid CEO Tom Schröder said the company was planning to enter into a joint venture with First Solar to equip the Californian project locations of Blythe (1000MW) and Palen (500MW) with its CdTe modules, if the transaction with Solar Millennium is realized. He made no mention of whether the partnership with First Solar would include the solar company's EPC and O&M services or was just a module supply deal.
Schröder added that he expects to finalize negotiations with Solar Millennium around the end of November.
Until a few months ago, both Blythe and Palen were due to be flagship installations for concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. However, in August Solar Millennium chose to switch the latter to PV and solarhybrid now plans to do the same at Blythe when it completes the purchase at the end of the month.
This U-turn is reflective of a growing trend throughout the solar industry to forgo CSP in favour of the cheaper and more widely used PV; Abengoa’s decision to use CSP on its 280MW Mojave Solar Project faced an anxious wait as opposition from the California Public Utilities Commission held up financing and permitting.
Prior to solarhybrid’s takeover, Solar Millenium's project pipeline – which totalled 2.25GW – was developed by its subsidiary, Solar Trust of America. Despite giving up ownership, Solar Millennium will still get a share of the profits once Blythe and Palen are completed, which it will put towards its non-US concentrated solar power ventures.