First Solar sells 250 MW Moapa project after 10 days of operation

Wow. That was fast.

Ten days ago, First Solar officials were trumpeting the commissioning of a 250 MW-AC solar plant on the Moapa River Indian Reservation and talking about its status as the first solar farm built on tribal land.

This morning, First Solar announced that it had divested itself of the project.

The lucky company purchasing this groundbreaking project is global private asset manager Capital Dynamics for an undisclosed sum. General Electric (GE) Financial Services, an affiliate of the Goldman Sachs Group, owns a minority stake in the project.

The Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project, first approved in 2012, is 30 miles north of Las Vegas and has a 25-year power-purchase agreement (PPA) with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to supply enough power to power 11,000 Los Angeles area homes.

“The Moapa project is an important step in the clean-energy-and-infrastructure strategy of Capital Dynamics,” said John Breckenridge, Capital Dynamics’ head of Clean Energy and Infrastructure. “We continue to be long-term owners of high-quality power generation assets in North America and Europe.”

Though the sale removes First Solar from an ownership stake in the project, it will still be involved through its First Solar Energy Services,, which will operate and maintain the power plant on behalf Capital Dynamics.

As pv magazine reported on March 20, Moapa Paiute Reservation leaders were excited about the project and hoped to light the way for other tribes to construct similar projects.

“As a first-of-its-kind project, the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project signifies our role as a leader in Indian Country, creating a template for other tribes to follow,” said Darren Daboda, chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes Tribal Council. “If our small tribe can accomplish this, then others can also. There are endless opportunities in renewable energy, and tribes across the nation have the perfect areas in which to build utility-scale projects.”

The Moapa project was the first of four First Solar projects built in conjunction with Native Americans in Nevada. Last September, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell approved a 100-MW plant agreement between First Solar and the Moapa band on tribal trust land in Clark County, Nev., and the developer is reportedly working with the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe on another 100 MW facility at its Snow Mountain Reservation, as well as on a 300 MW project with the Moapa band at its Fort Mojave Reservation.