First Solar Stock Soars on News of New Solar Plant in LA County
Shares of First Solar Inc. soared more than 13% at one point Friday on news that the company could move forward on plans to build a solar-energy plant in northern Los Angeles County, one of several key facilities the firm is constructing.
First Solar (US:FSLR) stock shares were up more than 9% to $15.88 at the close on the news that the L.A. County Department of Public Works agreed to approve the solar panels that the company wanted to use in the 230-megawatt plant in a high-desert area known as the Antelope Valley.
First Solar is building the plant for Exelon Corp. (US:EXC) , whose shares were up marginally. See also Energy Stocks column.
The project was delayed when a county inspector refused to certify the electrical connectors for the solar panels.
â€œWe had intended to start installation [of the panels] in April. Now it will start in late June,â€ First Solar spokesman Alan Bernheimer said.
First Solar had furloughed 230 workers while it waited for the countyâ€™s approval of the panels. Bernheimer said that since this was the countyâ€™s first utility-scale solar plant, it needed a significant amount of information on how the facility would operate. But the company doesnâ€™t have to alter its plans, he added.
The plant is one of several California solar-generating facilities that First Solar is constructing; it also is building two separate 550-megawatt plants in other regions along with a 290-megawatt facility on the Arizona border.
â€œFollowing our discussions, we are now confident in First Solarâ€™s ability to meet our health and safety requirements,â€ Dennis Hunter, the countyâ€™s deputy director of public works, said in a written statement.
The news gave a lift to at least one other solar company, SunPower Corp. (US:SPWR) , which was up nearly 5% to $5.16.
The 2,100-acre Antelope Valley plant is expected to power 75,000 homes. Although construction wonâ€™t be finished until next year, the facility can start generating power late this year from the panels that are installed between now and then.
Bernheimer said the facility known as the AV Solar Ranch has been ongoing since April with about 120 workers building a substation and connections between the panel area and the power grid.desert area, solar plant
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