June 22, 2012 |
First Solar Inc. is restarting work on one of the biggest construction projects in Los Angeles County after resolving a code conflict with the public works department. The nearly $1.4-billion Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project was put on hold as the county checked that the thin-film solar panels being installed met certification, health and safety requirements. Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar put some workers on furlough during the period but now says it plans to ramp up its workforce over the next few weeks.
December 7, 2011 |
Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings utility agreed to buy the $2 billion Topaz project in California, branching into solar power after the industry was battered by stock markets around the world. The Topaz Solar Farm will be one of the world's largest photovoltaic power plants and is being developed by the seller, First Solar Inc. of Tempe, Ariz. Terms weren't disclosed. The project's 550- megawatt capacity is equal to about half a new nuclear reactor. Buffett's Iowa-based utility, which entered clean energy buying U.S. wind farms and a stake in Chinese electric-car producer BYD Co., struck the deal Wednesday after First Solar failed to get a U.S. government loan guarantee for the project that will use First Solar's thin-film solar panels.
November 24, 2010 |
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors denied a request from Northrop Grumman Corp. to delay final approval of a major solar project in the Antelope Valley near the military contractor's facility for testing radar-evading stealth aircraft. On a voice vote, supervisors rejected Northrop's appeal Tuesday, opting to let plans for the 2,100-acre complex of photovoltaic solar panels proceed. Final approval is expected Dec. 7. The company argued that the project would "adversely impact the military mission" of the sensitive, 1970s-era testing center, just south of the Tehachapi Mountains in Kern County.
April 30, 2012 |
SolarCity Corp., a Bay Area solar panel developer and installer whose chairman heads Tesla Motors Inc., is planning an IPO. The San Mateo company's intention to go public come as other alternative energy firms are backing away from similar growth plans, even after the industry reported record growth last year. First Solar Inc. said this month that it would close down some of its factories and trim 2,000 positions . Oakland's BrightSource Energy Inc. scrapped its IPO plans a few weeks ago. After Solyndra's bankruptcy last year focused an unflattering spotlight on the solar business, SolarCity and other companies gave up hope for federal loan guarantees.
August 28, 2011 |
Taking advantage of greatly reduced stock prices is a tricky business. One strategy is to find an investment area so certain to grow that it will be around long after market traumas subside. Green investing, which offers the added potential that innovative companies will get snapped up by bigger firms, could be one of those areas. Buying stocks of firms that play a significant role in the environment and energy conservation can be highly speculative, as indicated by the beatings so many have taken this year.
April 17, 2012 |
In what executives now call a "fundamentally changed" solar industry, thin-film panel maker First Solar Inc. is closing down factories and cutting 2,000 workers. The layoffs represent 30% of the Tempe, Ariz.-based company's global workforce. First Solar is also planning to close down a factory in Frankfurt, Germany, later this year while indefinitely idling four production lines at its facility in Kulim, Malaysia, on May 1. The workforce reductions, which will cost First Solar up to $70 million in severance, will also reach employees in the U.S. The scale-back is expected to save the solar giant as much as $60 million this year and then up to $120 million a year after.