Clear Skies Solar, Mineola, N.Y., provider of turnkey solar electricity installations, has initiated project engineering on an $11 million, 3.2MW solar farm in Cantil, Calif., to be built on 34 acres of company-owned land.

Less than three months ago, the project was stalled due to a lack of funding. Since that time, module prices have fallen as much as 30%, reigniting projects such as this one. "Although this project will be smaller than initially anticipated, the use of thin-film technology will offer our investors a substantially higher return, which investors are now demanding under current economic conditions," says Ezra Green, CEO and chairman of Clear Skies Solar. "I anticipate that competing technologies and increased manufacturing capacity brought on by massive investments at manufacturing factories will continue to reduce the cost of module prices. Plus, as the renewable energy credit and carbon credit markets continue to develop under President Obama's administration, I expect to see the value proposition of these kinds of projects continue to grow in 2009."

The improvement of thin-film technologies and subsequent decrease in thin-film costs are major contributing factors to the economic feasibility of this project. With a larger footprint than traditional PV panels, the use of thin film typically consumes twice as much land as polysilicon on a per-watt basis.

Clear Skies Solar will continue to operate and maintain this solar plant for the next 20 years and expects to see recurring revenue from this management arrangement. The completed Biological Resource Assessment has found no evidence of protected desert wildlife, which is the main environmental issue that has the potential to hinder a project like this one.