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First Solar Buys Project Developer Solar Chile

First Solar Inc., the biggest maker of thin-film solar products, bought a Chilean developer planning 1,500 megawatts of photovoltaic power projects as the U.S. company seeks to expand into Latin America.

The acquisition of Solar Chile SA is the company’s first “significant” move into Latin America, Alan Bernheimer, a spokesman for Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar, said in an e-mail today. Financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.

Chile “has a stable economy that can support solar development, but whose growth is constrained by unmet energy demand, especially in the mining sector,” Bernheimer said. “Utility-scale photovoltaic solar is cost-competitive in this market.”

Five employees will join First Solar and Fundacion Chile, an early investor in the company, will provide consultating services, First Solar said in a statement today. Solar Chile

Other promising markets include Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Panama and the Caribbean, Bernheimer said.

First Solar has built more than 600 megawatts of photovoltaic power projects world wide and has about 2,000 megawatts under construction, according to the statement.

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