*Masdar building largest Middle East solar power plant
*First Solar to supply half of plant's panels
*First Solar shares rise as much as 6.5 pct
ABU DHABI, Jan 15 Abu Dhabi's Masdar said on
Thursday it is building the Middle East's largest solar power
plant for the carbon-neutral Masdar City.
Half of the 10 megawatt photovoltaic plant's solar panels
will be supplied by First Solar Inc (FSLR.O), the U.S.-based
company said in a statement. Its shares rose 6.5 percent
following the announcement.
The $22 billion Masdar City -- the green city in the desert
-- will be home to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses. No cars
will be allowed.
First Solar's thin film solar panels are cheaper to
produce, but generate less electricity, than traditional
silicon-based solar panels. The remaining 5 MW of Masdar's
solar power plant will be built from crystalline silicon
panels. The supplier is yet to be named.
"While a 5 MW order is small within the context of First
Solar, the high profile, 'marquee' nature of this particular
project gives it added significance," Raymond James analyst
Pavel Molchanov said in a client note.
The $50 million solar plant will begin producing power in
2009 and will supply any excess energy to the Abu Dhabi power
grid, Masdar said.
The plant is expected to reduce emissions of 15,000 tonnes
of carbon dioxide annually.
Masdar was set up by the Abu Dhabi government to develop
sustainable and clean energy. It is 100 percent owned by the
Abu Dhabi government through the Mubadala Development Company.
Abu Dhabi-based Enviromena Power Systems designed the plant
and is installing it.
First Solar shares were up $6.62, or 5 percent, at $140 in
afternoon trade on the Nasdaq. The stock hit a high of $142
earlier in the session.
(Additional reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles)
(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; editing by William Hardy
and Gunna Dickson)