Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 18:47 UK

US firm in China solar mega-deal

Solar panel installation
The project could provide enough power for three million homes

US energy group First Solar has signed a preliminary deal to build the world's biggest solar power plant in China.

The 10-year project would result in a two gigawatt plant - enough to power three million Chinese homes - at Ordos City in Inner Mongolia.

First Solar will begin constructing a 30 megawatt demonstration project in June next year.

China is expanding its use of solar power as it works towards meeting ambitious renewable energy targets.

First Solar has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government.

If the project gets the go-ahead, the plant should be completed by 2019.

"We're proud to announce this precedent-setting project. It represents an encouraging step forward to the mass scale deployment of solar power worldwide to mitigate climate change concerns," said First Solar boss Mike Ahearn.

The project would operate under a feed-in tariff that would guarantee the price of electricity produced by the plant over the long-term, the company said.

"Discussions with First Solar about building a factory in China demonstrate to investors in China that they can confidently invest in the most advanced technologies available," said Cao Zhichen, vice mayor of the Ordos municipal government.

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