First Solar Power Plant in Chile is World’s First to Deliver Grid Services

Thursday, 20. August 2020 14:15

TEMPE, Ariz., Aug. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced that its 141-megawatt (MW)AC Luz del Norte photovoltaic (PV) power plant is the world’s first known utility-scale solar facility licensed to deliver ancillary grid services commercially. Chile’s independent system operator (ISO), Coordinador Eléctrico Nacional, recently added Luz del Norte to its portfolio of large-scale power generators that are approved to deliver a range of grid services, including automatic generation control (AGC).

The facility, located in Copiapó, Chile, is now being used by the ISO to manage the frequency of the country’s electricity system, helping ensure the grid’s reliability and stability, in addition to generating clean, renewable energy. This follows an extensive audit, jointly conducted by Coordinador Eléctrico Nacional, Laborelec Latam, and First Solar, to evaluate the plant’s capabilities. Until now, grid operators around the world had to rely exclusively on thermoelectric or hydroelectric power plants to respond to changes in load by balancing generation.

“We are very pleased with this achievement as this increases the spectrum of technologies capable of providing the services needed to maintain a safe and reliable operation of the electrical system,” said Carlos Barria, head of the Forecast and Regulatory Analysis, and Environment and Climate Change at Chile’s Ministry of Energy. “These demonstrated capabilities are in line with our plans in integrating higher levels of renewable energy in our grid, which will enable us to achieve our goal to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2040 and to be carbon neutral by 2050.”

Utility-scale solar’s grid capabilities were previously proven as part of a 2016 demonstration project by the California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO), the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and First Solar. The study examined a First Solar-designed power plant’s ability to provide AGC, primary frequency control, ramp rate control, and voltage regulation. It found that the PV power plant performed better than fast gas turbine technologies, which are typically used by grid operators to respond to load changes.

Significantly, utility-scale PV’s ability to provide ancillary services was one of the solutions selected by the Mission Innovation program, for its potential to deliver close to 30 million metric tons of avoided emissions per year. The program, which is a global initiative of 24 countries, including the United States, and the European Commission, is working towards accelerating clean energy innovation.  

“Chile's visionary approach to designing its future grid allowed us to take a proven concept and implement a commercially and technically viable solution,” said Troy Lauterbach, Senior Vice President, First Solar Energy Services. “As utility companies and ISOs around the world grapple with the challenge of decarbonizing their grids, Luz del Norte has come to represent the realizable potential of large-scale solar. By delivering a combination of clean electricity and no-carbon grid services, it demonstrates the value of investing in large-scale solar.”

Commissioned in 2016, Luz del Norte is one of the largest PV plants in Chile. Powered by First Solar’s proprietary thin film module technology, developed at its research and development centers in California and Ohio, the facility generates enough electricity to power 50,000 average Chilean homes with the lowest carbon footprint and no water use.

About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar solutions, which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy solutions protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.

For First Solar Investors
This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning the delivery of commercial ancillary grid services by First Solar-designed utility scale PV power plants, including its Luz del Norte project in Copiapó, Chile. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as “estimate,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “seek,” “believe,” “forecast,” “foresee,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “goal,” “target,” “might,” “will,” “could,” “predict,” “continue” and the negative or plural of these words and other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and our projections about future events and therefore speak only as of the date of this release. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements for any reason, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the matters discussed under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations” of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and our subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, as supplemented by our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.     

MediaInvestors
  
Reuven Proença
First Solar Media
reuven.proenca@firstsolar.com
Mitchell Ennis
First Solar Investor Relations
mitchell.ennis@firstsolar.com


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/39bc563e-3fcb-49bf-ad4a-ce7f41fb12a4

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World’s First Solar Power Plant to Deliver Grid Services

The Luz del Norte photovoltaic (PV) power plant, developed and operated by First Solar, is the world’s first known utility-scale solar facility licensed to deliver ancillary grid services commercially. Chile’s independent system operator (ISO), Coordinador Eléctrico Nacional, recently added Luz del Norte to its portfolio of large-scale power generators that are approved to deliver a range of grid services, including automatic generation control (AGC).
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