First Solar agrees to cease operations after 35 years

October 5, 2011

Under an agreement with a group of litigants battling against a Carrizo Plain proposed solar plant, Topaz Solar farm will close down after 35 years of operation, First Solar and two local activist groups announced. [Tribune]

The 550-megawatt proposed First Solar plant will be decommissioned, the area restored to its natural state, and a conservation easement is to be placed on the land as part of the lawsuit settlement.

“Combined with other off-site lands Topaz is conserving, this agreement will support the preservation of approximately 22,000 acres to be protected in perpetuity following the end of the project operations,” the company announced in a news release.

The litigants, North County Watch and Carrizo Commons, have argued that the facility would cause a loss of habitat for protected species such as the San Joaquin kit fox and the giant kangaroo rat.

As part of the agreement, First Solar is required to establish a biological working group to conduct research and monitoring during the life of the project to help minimize environmental impacts.

On Friday, the Topaz project lost $1.9 billion in federal loan guarantees because it failed to meet a Friday deadline to start construction. First Solar is currently negotiating with other lenders.


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13 Comments

  1. Myself says:

    Lets see, the sun shines on the Carissa planes, not in Morro Bay ,Cayucos, or Pismo it looks to be the spot for something like this, but no matter where you go some enviromental group will fight anything because this is such a pristine place, everyplace you go is pristine in its own right, thank god we have gotten as far as we have in this country before these greenies stopped everything or else we would be living in caves and eating berrys.
    These people don’t want Diablo canyon, nuculer power, Hydro electric, they talk green but shoot down everything that comes up clean, Hydro and Solar are clean,free and renewable but the greenies don’t want them to be built either, maybe we should shut off their electric for a few weeks so they get a taste of what we are going to be up against in a few years
    . Holding these companys hostage for some horse puckey is just plain wrong, buying property for mitagation and then not knowing how to manage it or mismanage the property as so often it happens by the state agencys, and now to hold them hostage to remove the plant after 35 years, these people need to wake up.

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. Maxfusion says:

    The green weenies strike again. I guess they needed a break from the Los Osos “project”. How many hundreds of millions did they pocket on this scam?

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. oto says:

    Topaz Solar? Never heard of ’em. First Solar? Never heard of them. Who owns them? Where are their corporate headquarters? What types of industry are they invested in? Hey, Steve Jobs! Have you occupied The Thirteenth Floor, yet?! Plug me in!

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  4. oto says:

    Good work, North County Watch and Carrizo Commons. Now gas and oil development can begin in ernest. In the meantime, I’ll be discussing the future of electricity with Steve Jobs on the Thirteenth Floor. I’m hoping he can unplug your programmed elements before its too late….

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  5. R.Hodin says:

    Maybe French oil giant TOTAL, SA will but them out. Then they’ll own all of the Carrizo solar projects.

    (-4) 6 Total Votes - 1 up - 5 down
  6. mberger says:

    At first glance the article is confusing. I sounded like the company was 35 years old and is now shutting down operations, rather than, than FIrst Solar is going to build the facility and will shut down the facility 35 years after it is built.

    (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  7. mkaney says:

    Of all the areas I would put on my priority list to defend from human encroachment and construction, the Carrizo plains is probably the LAST.

    (4) 20 Total Votes - 12 up - 8 down
    • R.Hodin says:

      To each his own.

      I’m sure your magnificent presence won’t be missed there, either.

      (0) 14 Total Votes - 7 up - 7 down
      • mkaney says:

        Lol that’s ok.. that was really just a snarky comment on my part anyway. I don’t think we ought to be destroying the environment even if it is for solar panels, I think what we really need to do is lower our energy usage, as opposed to putting all of our focus on alternative sources.

        (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down
  8. everyman says:

    This is a terrible joke. If we want to get away from nukes and the spectre of a Diablo apocalypse, then we need to find better power sources. Solar is it. We have the sun and the land. First the envrios want solar, now they are opposed.

    These solar companies have bent over backwards to appease these environmentalists. There is no pleasing them.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if First Solar drops the project having just lost all that federal money.

    I know this is incoherent, but this really shows how nothing can ever get done in this country anymore.

    (14) 18 Total Votes - 16 up - 2 down
  9. kellygirl says:

    How does First Solar miss a deadline worth $1.9 billion? Does anyone know the reason?

    (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
    • ds_gray says:

      You READ the reason in the article.

      The project could not move forward due to silly litigation blocking it. In essence, the litigants held First Solar hostage, and managed to get their way regardless of the ‘agreement’, by delaying the project long enough for the funding to fall apart. Simple but affective tactic.

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down

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