MidAmerican Energy to Acquire
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company announced it has entered into definitive agreements to acquire the Topaz Solar Farm from First Solar. The 550-megawatt photovoltaic power plant being built in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., will have the capacity to generate enough renewable energy to power approximately 160,000 average California homes. The more than $2 billion Topaz project is one of the two largest PV projects in the world, both being built by First Solar.
First Solar has agreed to construct, operate and maintain the Topaz project for MidAmerican. Construction began in November 2011 and is expected to be complete by early 2015. The project will create approximately 400 construction jobs and 15 ongoing operations and maintenance jobs. According to an economic benefits study by The Brattle Group and California Polytechnic State University, the project is estimated to infuse $417 million into the local economy, the majority of which will be generated during construction, with the remainder over the project's minimum 25-year operating period.
The closing of MidAmerican's acquisition of Topaz is contingent on the satisfaction of certain closing conditions specified in the acquisition agreement, including certain required actions with respect to the project's permits and electrical interconnection arrangements. The project sale is not contingent on MidAmerican obtaining debt financing. Pacific Gas and Electric Company will purchase the electricity from Topaz under a 25-year power purchase agreement, helping California to meet its mandate to generate 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. Developed by First Solar, the Topaz project will incorporate the company's thin-film PV modules, which generate electricity with no emissions, waste or water use and, according to the company, have the smallest carbon footprint of any PV technology. Electricity generated from the Topaz project could displace approximately 377,000 metric tons of CO2 per year - the equivalent of taking approximately 73,000 cars off the road.
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