NRG Buys 290 MW Agua Caliente — UPDATE

by Terrence Murray - December 14, 2010

NRG Energy, the New Jersey power company, has agreed to buy the 290 megawatts Agua Caliente solar project in Arizona from First Solar.

Agua Caliente is scheduled to be completed by 2014 and has a 25-year power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric.

The two companies did not disclose terms of the deal.

Agua Caliente is expected to cost up to $1.5 billion to build.

As G.E.R. previously reported The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reviewing the terms of a Department of Energy loan guarantee that will finance the debt portion of the project’s financing.

On the equity side, NRG says it could invest up to $800 million in the project through 2014, either by selling a stake in Agua Caliente to an outside investor or by tapping its own balance sheet.

NRG did not hire an investment bank for this transaction, a company spokesperson tells G.E.R.

A little more than a year ago First Solar sold NRG a 21-megawatt solar energy project in Blythe, Calif.

This latest transaction is anchoring NRG as one of the solar industry’s lead investors.

Including Agua Caliente NRG currently has about 725 megawatts of solar projects that are either operating or under construction. Early next year the company plans to launch construction of its 250-megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.

Also, NRG recently announced a $300 million investment in BrightSource Energy’s 392-megawatt Ivanpah solar project in California’s Mojave Desert.

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