Solar plantA First Solar plant in El Dorado, Nev.Photo: Sempra EnergyThe world’s largest photovoltaic project is finally moving forward in China.

Back in September 2009, First Solar, the Tempe, Ariz., thin-film solar module maker and developer, announced that it had struck a deal to build a massive 2,000-megawatt solar power plant complex in the Ordos region of Inner Mongolia.

Then, as often is the case when such big projects are unveiled with great fanfare, nothing much happened for a long while as the nitty-gritty financial details were worked out and First Solar grappled with Chinese bureaucracy.

But on Monday, First Solar said it had struck an agreement with the China Guangdong Nuclear Solar Energy Development Company (CGN SEDC)  to build the first 30-megawatt phase of the two-gigawatt project. According to the original announcement, the full project is to be completed by 2019.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

But as with the previous deal, Monday’s agreement is a memorandum of understanding. Neither First Solar nor or CGN SEDC revealed any concrete dates for breaking ground on the solar farm or targets for its completion.

“First Solar is honored to be working on the Ordos project with CGN SEDC, a company with demonstrated leadership, expertise, and experience,” Bruce Sohn, First Solar’s president, said in a statement. “We look forward to working together to make the Ordos project a reality and to contributing to China’s renewable energy goals and market development.”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The Chinese company will build, operate, and own the majority share of the 30-megawatt demonstration project, while First Solar will supply the solar panels and advise CGN SEDC.

Meanwhile, General Electric has jumped into the solar biz — in Canada.

First Solar on Monday said it had sold a 50-megawatt photovoltaic farm complex to be built in Ontario to GE Energy Financial Services and a company called Plutonic Power.

The project is set to begin construction later this year.

The Great White North may not seem a likely hotspot for solar developers. But like Germany, another sun-starved region, Ontario offers a generous subsidies for renewable energy that have sparked something of a photovoltaic boom.