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Desert Sunlight Team Brings Holiday Cheer to Desert Center

Toys, Food Baskets, and a Celebration Brighten Holidays for Residents

December 24, 2012

DESERT CENTER, Calif – At a celebration on Saturday, December 22 gifts and food baskets were given to local families. Firefighters from Desert Center brought Santa in on a fire truck and helped hand out presents for the children and food baskets to local families, who made gingerbread houses while enjoying hot cocoa, cookies, games and seasonal music.

For the third consecutive year the Desert Sunlight team has come together to bring holiday cheer to Desert Center families. Together First Solar, its employees and sub-contractors, and Desert Sunlight’s owners – NextEra Energy Resources, GE Energy Financial Services and Sumitomo Corporation of America – raised almost $7,000 for the communities neighboring the project.

“Holiday giving is an important part of our commitment to Desert Center and meaningful for the individuals from the Desert Sunlight team who have a chance to personally donate to the community,” said Laura Abram, Director of Community Affairs for First Solar. “This is just one example of how we are working with residents to continue to strengthen this vibrant community.” 

First Solar employees and sub-contractors gave $3,895 and an extra $1,000 was contributed by First Solar through a company match. Desert Sunlight owners generously donated $2000.

A portion of the funds was used to provide toys for children in Desert Center, Lake Tamarisk and Eagle Mountain. The funds purchased toys for about 45 local kids who gave Santa their wish lists.

Some of the money raised helped the Lake Tamarisk Resident’s Association purchase food baskets to provide 40 local families with holiday meals through the local food pantry. The remaining funds will be used to purchase additional food baskets and support children’s programs throughout the year.

In addition to holiday contributions, First Solar committed $350,000 to the Desert Center Community Fund in May 2011. So far, the grant has supported a number of organizations, including Desert Center Unified School District, Friends of the Desert Center Library and Lake Tamarisk Residents Association, which have each received $5,000. A committee of local residents will determine how the remaining $335,000 will benefit the community, with its first disbursement expected in early 2013.

The 550-megawatt solar project under construction is located approximately 6 miles from Desert Center. While Desert Sunlight is owned by NextEra Energy Resources, GE Energy Financial Services, and Sumitomo Corporation of America, the project is being constructed by First Solar, who will also operate and maintain Desert Sunlight after its completion in 2015. The project will employ approximately 440 workers on average during construction. Desert Sunlight currently employs about 600 construction workers, with over 50% hired locally. Desert Sunlight supports California’s requirement to provide one-third of its electricity from renewable resources. Desert Sunlight will provide enough clean, affordable, sustainable energy to power about 160,000 California homes and displace more than 300,000 metric tons of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions each year – the equivalent of taking almost 60,000 cars off the road.

About First Solar

First Solar manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology, and is a premier provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) system solutions. The company is delivering an economically viable alternative to fossil-fuel generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life collection and recycling, First Solar is focused on creating value-driven renewable energy solutions that protect and enhance the environment.

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