North Coast Solar Stocks

April 7, 2009

Xcel Energy and SunPower Sign Contract to Build 17-Megawatt Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant in Colorado

Filed under: FPL, PCG, SPWR, XEL — Tags: , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

Tuesday April 7, 2009, 8:00 am EDT

DENVER, April 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Xcel Energy (XEL) and SunPower Corp. (SPWRA, SPWRB), a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels, and solar systems, today announced an agreement to build a 17-megawatt AC photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in Colorado’s Alamosa County. When completed at the end of 2010, the power plant will be the second-largest high-efficiency solar PV power plant in North America. It is expected to create approximately 200 jobs during construction.

“We believe that solar power generation will play an increasingly vital role in our efforts to meet the wishes of our Colorado customers for more renewable, clean energy sources,” said Tim Taylor, president and CEO for Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. “SunPower’s experienced approach to solar power plant design and construction will allow us to quickly complete this important project.”

The plant will use SunPower® Tracker systems, which generate up to 30 percent more energy per land area than conventional systems and reduce land-use requirements. SunPower Trackers tilt toward the sun as it moves across the sky, increasing energy capture and providing more power on hot summer days when utilities need it most.

“Today, high-efficiency solar PV technology is competitively-priced for power plant applications. It’s fast to install, and reliably delivers clean power, particularly during peak demand hours,” said SunPower CEO Tom Werner. “We congratulate Xcel Energy for providing leadership in the promotion of solar power development, and for demonstrating how renewable technologies are part of the solution to ensure the health of our economy and our environment.”

Xcel Energy is ranked as the fifth-largest utility provider of solar power in the nation. In Colorado, the company has acquired more than 25 megawatts of on-site solar generation from homes and businesses participating in Xcel’s Solar*Rewards rebate program. In addition, the company buys power from an 8.2-megawatt solar farm adjacent to where the new facility will be built. The company also is the nation’s number one utility provider for wind power, and is working to meet various renewable energy standards in many of the eight states in which it serves.

By the end of 2010, the largest high-efficiency solar PV plant in North America will be the 25-megawatt (AC) Florida Power & Light (FPL) plant that SunPower is currently building and expects to complete by the end of this year; Alamosa will be the second-largest facility. The FPL plant is almost twice the size of North America’s largest operating solar PV plant, the 12-megawatt (AC) (14-megawatt (DC)) array at Nellis Air Force base in Nevada, also built by SunPower. SunPower has a contract to build a 210-megawatt (AC) (250-megawatt (DC)) solar power plant for Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PCG) in California, which is expected to be complete in 2012.

Construction of the new Alamosa project is contingent on factors including approval by the Colorado Public Utility Commission and project financing.

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company that provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies in eight Western and Midwestern states. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. More information is available at http://www.xcelenergy.com.

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