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Salt Lake City — First Wind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, has finalized seven 20-year power purchase agreements with Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp. As part of the purchase agreements, Rocky Mountain Power will buy the output of the planned 20-megawatt “Seven Sisters” projects under its obligation from the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA. First Wind, which successfully developed, built and now operates the 306 megawatt Milford Wind project, celebrated this project milestone during the 2014 Utah Governor’s Energy Development Summit.
The Seven Sisters portfolio includes seven separate solar photovoltaic projects, four of which are to be sited in Beaver County and three to be located in Iron County. With the start of major construction slated to begin in late 2014 and a target completion date of July 2015, the projects are planned to use more than 73,000, 300-watt solar panels. Six of the seven projects will be 3 megawatt (AC), and the seventh will be 2 megawatt (AC). Once complete, the combined generating capacity of all seven projects will be 40,000 megawatt-hours per year, or equivalent to the electricity use of more than 4,000 Utah homes per year.
“We are excited to announce this milestone for the Seven Sisters solar portfolio as part of the 2014 Summit, which builds on First Wind’s renewable energy leadership in Utah,” said Pete Sullivan, director of business development at First Wind. “The long-term contracts with Rocky Mountain Power are a significant achievement for these solar projects, which will deliver clean energy to Utah ratepayers once they achieve commercial operations next year.
The projects are the first in Utah to be developed by First Wind’s new solar division, First Wind Solar Group, which was established to explore solar energy opportunities near the company’s wind projects in the West, Hawaii and the Northeast. First Wind Solar Group recently completed construction on its Massachusetts-based 3 megawatt Millbury Solar project.