Solar Power Gets Jolt of Energy as Western Australia Officially Flips Switch on Country's First Large-Scale Solar Project
GERALDTON, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Solar power received a jolt of energy this morning as Australia's first
large-scale photovoltaic solar project was officially switched on. Verve
Energy, GE (NYSE: GE) unit GE Energy Financial Services and First Solar,
Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today opened the 10-megawatt Greenough River Solar
Farm near Geraldton, Western Australia. Joined by WA Energy Minister
Peter Collier, landholders, community members and contractors, the
successful kick-off follows more than one year of planning, design,
construction and testing.
"Today, the community is celebrating Australia's renewable energy
future, and this is only the beginning. The Western Australia community
has developed a genuine appetite for renewable energy, and today we are
10 megawatts closer to a cleaner energy future," said WA Minister of
Energy Peter Collier.
"As the largest photovoltaic solar plant in operation in Australia, the
Greenough River Solar Farm demonstrates that renewable technologies can
contribute to meeting Australia's future energy needs on a sustainable,
cost-competitive basis. This is a positive first step in validating the
bright future that large-scale solar represents in Australia," said
Jason Waters, CEO, Verve Energy.
"With this landmark project now complete, partners Verve Energy and GE
Energy Financial Services are now evaluating the possibility of
expanding the plant to up to 40 megawatts to satisfy growing demand for
renewable energy," said Waters.
The 10-megawatt project is expected to generate enough solar energy to
power 3,000 homes and displace 20,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each
year. The plant's output will be purchased by the WA Water Corporation
to help offset the energy requirements of its Southern Seawater
This project marks GE Energy Financial Services' first renewable energy
investment in Australia, adding to the company's global portfolio of
more than US$8 billion committed worldwide for projects generating power
from wind, solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal and other renewable sources.
"GE is one of the world's largest renewable energy investors and the
Greenough River Solar Farm is just one example of the significant
projects we can help turn into reality," said Matt O'Connor, Managing
Director at GE Energy Financial Services. "We see incredible investment
opportunities in Australia and look forward to expanding on this
successful project and applying our expertise to help the country's
renewable energy market grow."
In addition to supplying over 150,000 of its advanced thin film PV
modules and engineering, procurement and construction services for the
plant, First Solar will provide operations and maintenance services for
the next 15 years.
"First Solar is helping make large-scale solar power a reality in
Australia," said Mark Widmar, First Solar Chief Financial Officer. "This
landmark project provides a strong foundation for the long-term adoption
of large-scale solar projects in the Australian power market. We are
delighted to have partnered with local suppliers and contractors to
deliver this project and to lead the development of a large-scale solar
industry in Australia."
Western Australian state-owned power utility, Verve Energy, and GE
Energy Financial Services each own 50 percent of the Greenough River
Solar Farm, with the WA Government having provided A$20 million in
funding, including A$10 million from the WA Royalties for Regions
program. No debt was raised to fund the project.
About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic
(PV) solar systems which use its advanced thin-film modules. The
company's integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically
attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From
raw material sourcing through end-of-life module collection and
recycling, First Solar's renewable energy systems protect and enhance
the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit http://www.firstsolar.com.
For First Solar Investors
This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant
to the safe harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements in this release do not
constitute guarantees of future performance. Those statements involve a
number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially,
including risks associated with the company's business involving the
company's products, their development and distribution, economic and
competitive factors and the company's key strategic relationships and
other risks detailed in the company's filings with the Securities and
Exchange Commission. First Solar assumes no obligation to update any
forward-looking information contained in this press release or with
respect to the announcements described herein.
About Verve Energy
Verve Energy is the leading generator of electricity in Western
Australia. Verve Energy owns and operates an extensive and diverse
portfolio of power stations and renewable energy systems with a total
capacity of 2967 MW. For more information, please visit www.verveenergy.com.au
About GE Energy Financial Services
GE Energy Financial Services—GE's energy investing business—works as a
builder, not just a banker, to help meet the world's power and fuel
needs. We offer more than money—expertise—for essential, long-lived and
capital-intensive power, oil and gas infrastructure—GE's core
business. Drawing on GE's energy technical know-how, financial strength
and risk management, we see value where others don't and take on our
customers' toughest challenges with flexible equity and debt transaction
structures. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, GE Energy Financial Services
holds an approximately $20 billion global energy portfolio. More
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best
technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in
energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering,
moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For
more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.
+61 (02) 9928 1533
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+61 (0) 406 316 907
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Energy Financial Services:
+1 203 961 2934
Source: First Solar, Inc.
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