Farella Braun + Martel Advises First Solar on the Sale of the 550MW Topaz Solar Farm Development
SAN FRANCISCO, December 7, 2011: Farella Braun + Martel LLP served as First Solar’s environmental, real estate and permitting counsel on the development of First Solar, Inc.’s Topaz Solar Farm, a 550-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant being built in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., and on the development aspects of the sale agreement signed with MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. The power plant will have the capacity to generate enough renewable energy to power approximately 160,000 average California homes. The Topaz project is one of the two largest PV projects in the world, both being built by First Solar and both with Farella Braun + Martel as development counsel.
As First Solar's go-to development counsel for real estate, environmental, and project permitting needs, Farella assisted First Solar in securing the necessary permits, environmental approvals and rights required from local, state, and federal government agencies for the Topaz project to be approved and constructed, including those required by San Luis Obispo County, the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The firm advised First Solar on site control, including the negotiation of land options and acquisitions of real property for approximately 3,500 acres of project land and approximately 19,000 acres of land to be protected and preserved, and assisted First Solar in negotiating agreements with national and local environmental organizations addressing environmental concerns.
Farella’s legal team for First Solar’s Topaz project was led by Environmental Partner Skip Spaulding and Real Estate Partner Richard Rabbitt, and included Environmental Partners Jon Benjamin and David Lazerwitz, Land Use Special Counsel Ilene Dick, Environmental Associates Mathew Swain and Matthew Bostick, Real Estate Associates Karen Jue, Brett Greenberg, and Navjot Athwal, Senior Real Estate Paralegal Scott Leonard and Senior Environmental Paralegal Jordan Van Druff. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s New York office advised First Solar on the corporate and commercial aspects of the sale.
Farella Braun + Martel represents clients throughout the United States and abroad in sophisticated business transactions and high-stakes commercial, civil and criminal litigation. Founded in 1962, the firm is headquartered in San Francisco and maintains an office in the Napa Valley focused on the wine industry. Farella Braun + Martel lawyers are known for their imaginative legal solutions, dynamism and intellectual creativity. With an unwavering service ethic and interdisciplinary team approach, the firm is committed to advancing clients' objectives in the most effective, coordinated and efficient manner. Farella Braun + Martel is a green business.