On Thursday (US time) RenewEconomy published a story quoting operators at the AVSR1 project, under construction in the Antelope Valley in California, as saying that the 136MW currently connected actually managed to produce a small amount of electricity during the “super moon” last Sunday/Monday.
We were amazed by this news and asked several questions about it at the time, as in “are you sure”, and on several occasions afterwards during the remainder of the site visit on that day. We were assured on each occasion, including by senior executives, that it was correct. When scepticism about the story was raised by readers we went back to First Solar. Again, we were initially assured the story was right, but then we were told on Friday afternoon that is was in fact wrong.
Naturally, we feel like complete idiots and are very embarrassed, and apologise to all those who read the story. We feel we have been let down, and we have let down our readers. The original story has been trashed.
This is the statement from First Solar in full:
“First Solar’s information that AVSR was producing 1MW of power from the “super moon” earlier this week is actually incorrect. We take full responsibility for the misunderstanding; an O&M operator (new on the job) simply misread the nominal load measurement present when the system is off-line, and wrongly assumed it had registered power during the full moon event. We in no way intended to misrepresent the capabilities of First Solar’s technology.
We want to set the record straight. This was an honest mistake, and again, we apologize for the error.
We appreciate your personal commitment to solid, clear-thinking reportage in the renewable energy sector, and regret that this unfortunate miscommunication occurred.”
And it isn’t even April 1. A lesson learned.