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First Solar, Edison International Sign 20-Year Pact

First Solar Inc., the world’s biggest maker of thin-film photovoltaic panels, said a unit of Edison International intends to buy almost three-quarters of the energy from a planned 340-megawatt solar plant in Nevada.

Southern California Edison will purchase 250 megawatts over 20 years, said Alan Bernheimer, a First Solar spokesman. The California Public Utilities Commission must approve the contract.

The First Solar plant, dubbed Silver State South, will consist of panels mounted on 2,500 acres near Primm, Nevada. It should be built and operational by 2014, with a maximum output of 250 megawatts of alternating current by 2017, the Tempe, Arizona-based company said in a statement.

The facility will dwarf First Solar’s adjacent Silver State North, which will produce 50 megawatts of alternating current. That plant will sell power to Nevada utility NV Energy Inc. under a 25-year contract signed a year ago.

First Solar declined to disclose the terms of the Edison agreement or the construction cost of Silver State South, which will connect to Rosemead, California-based Edison’s proposed Eldorado-Ivanpah 220-kilovolt transmission line.

First Solar, whose 38 percent increase this year outperformed the 23 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, fell 1.4 percent to $156.27 as of 12:43 p.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

Edison International was little changed at $36.99.

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