NTR firm signs solar project deal

NTR’s transformation into a green energy company took a major step forward yesterday when its solar project development company, Tessera Solar North America, announced a 20-year power purchase agreement with CPS Energy to develop a 27 megawatt solar project in Texas.

NTR’s share price has surged this month by 20% pushing the market capitalisation of the company to €597.3 million.

Two US-based greenenergy companies controlled by NTR are central to this latest development. Tessera Solar North America will use the SunCatcher power system manufactured by sister company, Stirling Energy Systems (SES), to power the development

This is the first power purchase agreement to be signed by the company since NTR’s investment of $100m (€72m) in Tessera Solar and SES in March 2008. The project will provide enough energy to power 4,000 San Antonio homes.

NTR chief executive Jim Barry said that while they have continued to progress the large-scale development projects in California’s Imperial Valley and the Mojave Desert which were part of their portfolio at the time of the investment, “this first project under the new strategy is an important milestone in growing our order book for SunCatchers and we are very pleased to be doing so with a quality utility such as CPS Energy,” he said.

CPS Energy chief executive Milton B Lee disclosed that the project marks their first purchase of solar-generated energy.

“We look for it to be the start of a successful solar program for many years to come. Solar will complement our diversified approach to producing electricity. We look forward to working with Tessera to help satisfy our customers’ electric needs in Greater San Antonio,” he added.

The Western Ranch Solar project is expected to break ground in summer 2010, assuming timely completion of regulatory approvals, with the first units expected to come online by the end of 2010.

The 27 MW solar project, comprised of 1,080 SunCatcher dishes, will create 100 construction jobs and up to 20 permanent jobs.

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