First Solar is currently constructing the 550 megawatt (MW) Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, which is co-owned by NextEra Energy Resources, GE Energy Financial Services, and Sumitomo Corporation of America. The project is located on land managed by the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), about six miles north of the community of Desert Center. Desert Sunlight will provide enough energy to serve the needs of about 160,000 average California homes, displacing approximately 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year—the equivalent of taking about 60,000 cars off the road.
Construction on the project began in September 2011, and the facility is expected to be fully operational by 2015. When completed, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm will support California in its efforts toward providing one-third of its energy from renewable resources, while establishing Riverside County as a world leader in renewable energy.
- Enough power for 160,000 average homes
- Displaces 300,000 tons of CO2 annually—equivalent to taking 60,000 cars off the road
- Lowest environmental impact of any PV technology
- No water used for electricity generation
- Wages and benefits from approximately 440 construction jobs over a 26 month period
- Estimated $15 million in new sales tax revenues and $12 million in new property tax revenues for Riverside County
- Estimated $336 million of indirect benefits to local businesses in the county, from engineering and design firms to construction subcontractors, supplier, and service providers
- Support for College of the Desert (COD) Renewable Energy training and educational programs
- Developing programs to support renewable energy education in local high schools and elementary schools
- On-site Solar Energy Learning Center
First Solar is committed to being a good neighbor—through our community relations and site selection process, as well as through our system performance. We are dedicated to meeting the needs of the community by supporting local events and providing educational benefits for local schools and universities. First Solar’s solar panels produce electricity directly from the sun without any moving parts, noise, or water consumption.