Reflecting its long-standing commitment to develop the full portfolio of energy resources, Southern Companysubsidiary Southern Power announced the acquisition of a controlling interest in the 32-megawatt (MW) Lost Hills-Blackwell Solar Facility inCalifornia from First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) Remaining interest in the project will be owned by an affiliate of First Solar.

“Southern Company continues to strategically develop solar renewable projects across the country,” said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. “By further diversifying our energy mix – and expanding our partnership with First Solar – we are demonstrating our commitment to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable power for America’s future.”

The Lost Hills-Blackwell Solar Facility spans two sites – the 20-MW Lost Hills Solar Facility and the 12-MW Blackwell Solar Facility – comprising a combined 308 acres of adjoining land in Kern County, California. The project consists of more than 454,000 of First Solar’s advanced technology PV solar modules mounted on single-axis tracking tables. In its first year, Lost Hills-Blackwell will be capable of producing enough clean, renewable energy to power more than 11,000 homes.

“This deal builds on our continued strong relationship with Southern Company, and we’re proud to further enhance the partnership,” said First Solar’sVice President of Project Development for the Western United States Brian Kunz. “In addition to assets Southern Power has acquired from First Solar, we have worked together directly on construction and supply of technology for projects across the United States.”

Construction of the project began in April 2014, and is expected to be completed shortly after this acquisition. The facility will be operated and maintained by First Solar.

The electricity and associated renewable energy credits generated by the facility will be sold under long-term power purchase agreements with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Roseville Electric.

Headquartered in San Francisco, PG&E provides energy to approximately 16 million people in Northern and Central California. Roseville Electricserves as the community-owned electric utility provider for the city of Roseville, California.

With the addition of this and other announced projects, Southern Power will own approximately 990 MW of renewable energy generating capacity that is either already in operation or under development. Southern Power recently announced an agreement to acquire the company’s largest renewable electric generating plant and first wind project – the 299-MW Kay Wind facility. In addition, the company has previously announced the acquisition of seven solar projects in partnership with Turner Renewable Energy and one solar project in partnership with First Solar. The company is also developing a 131-MW solar facility in Taylor County, Georgia, and two solar projects totaling 99 MW in Decatur County, Georgia. Southern Power also owns one of the nation’s largest biomass power plants in Nacogdoches, Texas.

The Lost Hills-Blackwell Solar Facility fits Southern Power’s business strategy of growing its wholesale business through the acquisition and construction of generating assets substantially covered by long-term contracts. (Original Source)

Shares of First Solar opened today at $63.71 and are currently trading down at $62.29. FSLR has a 1-year high of $73.78 and a 1-year low of $39.18. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $60.67 and its 200-day moving average is $52.12.

On the ratings front, First Solar has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on April 9, FBR analyst Aditya Satghare maintained a Hold rating on FSLR, with a price target of $55, which implies a downside of 13.7% from current levels. Separately, on March 2, Credit Suisse’s Patrick Jobin reiterated a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $70.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Aditya Satghare and Patrick Jobin have a total average return of 2.3% and 9.9% respectively. Satghare has a success rate of 62.5% and is ranked #2042 out of 3572 analysts, while Jobin has a success rate of 50.0% and is ranked #1243.

The street is mostly Neutral on FSLR stock. Out of 25 analysts who cover the stock, 11 suggest a Hold rating, 10 suggest a Buy and 4 recommend to Sell the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $64.12, which represents a slight upside potential from current levels.

First Solar Inc is a provider of solar energy solutions. It designs, manufactures and sells PV solar modules with a thin-film semiconductor technology. It also manufactures crystalline silicon solar modules.