First Solar gets needed permit for California project

Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:15pm EST

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(Reuters) - First Solar said changes to a construction permit for a giant California solar project had been approved, potentially clearing the way for initial funding of a $646 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The DOE had approved the loan guarantee in September to support the 230-megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project in northern Los Angeles County.

Earlier this month, the company had said that the DOE has not released loan funds because of a delay in receiving a construction permit.

The company had also said that if the funds did not come in by February 24, it would have to buy the project back from Exelon Corp [ID:nL4E8DA3TS]

Exelon and First Solar have agreed to extend their deadline for initial funding of the loan to April 6, to allow sufficient time for the funding to occur, First Solar said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.

First Solar shares closed 8 percent lower at $37.20 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange after Germany announced cuts in solar subsidies.

(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore; Editing by Gary Hill)

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