First Solar (FSLR) Pushing Further Into Utility Scale Solar Power With Purchase of OptiSolar

First Solar (FSLR) announced after the bell today that it will acquire all of OptiSolar’s project development business in an all stock transaction valued at approximately $400 million. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the 2nd quarter and includes:

– 550MW AC solar development project under a power purchase agreement with PG&E
– A project pipeline of an additional 1300MW AC that’s in negotiation with Western regional utilities
– Land rights of about 136K acres with the potential to deploy up to 19 GW AC of utility scale solar power project
– OptiSolar’s core development team

“OptiSolar has created an impressive and well-designed development pipeline. Adding these resources, along with their development team, to First Solar is our next logical step to delivering multi-GW of solar power to U.S. utilities over the next several years,” said Mike Ahearn, First Solar chief executive officer. “As First Solar continues to drive down its manufacturing and EPC costs, OptiSolar’s project pipeline and the ability of our team to continually expand our existing pipeline, will enable us to bring solar energy on-line quickly and further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the grid.”

First Solar is up a couple bucks in after hours trading on the news.  This is good news for FSLR and they remain the leading solar play, but I don’t think it’s done going lower.  I’m looking for a test of the lows around 85 as an opportunity to get in for the long haul. 

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