Tempe-based First Solar reaches deal with China on 2-gigawatt power plant

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NEW YORK -- Tempe-based First Solar Inc. said Tuesday it has received initial approval from the Chinese government to build what may become the largest solar field in the world.

First Solar said it struck a tentative 10-year deal to build in China's vast desert north of the Great Wall.

First Solar announced the deal after signing a "memorandum of understanding" at its corporate headquarters in Tempe with the chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress.

The solar field would dwarf anything in operation in the U.S. or Europe. At 2 gigawatts, or 2 billion watts, the solar plant could pump as much energy onto China's grid as two coal-fired plants, enough to light up three million homes.

First Solar is also building solar farms in California and New Mexico.

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