7 July 2010


First Solar inaugurates 1.3MW PV plant atop German production facility

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, says that it is now also relying on solar energy at its production site in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany after starting operation of a 1.3MW power plant on its facility’s roof. The firm says that, for the first time, it now represents the entire photovoltaics value chain in Frankfurt (Oder), from manufacturing of solar modules and power generation to recycling.

First Solar says that it focuses in particular on the sustainable management of the entire life cycle of its solar modules and, claiming to be the first manufacturer to do so, introduced a pre-financed collection and recycling program. The power plant on the roof of the production site in Frankfurt (Oder) is a step in implementing this. First Solar will hence in the future also generate its own power in addition to manufacturing solar modules and recycling.

“The solar industry is of tremendous significance for Brandenburg,” comments Ralf Christoffers, Minister for Economic Affairs of Brandenburg. “For years now, we have been successfully promoting the sustainable support of renewable energy and are therefore pleased that First Solar is taking the lead in an exemplary manner and is now using solar energy to manufacture its modules.”

The new power plant will generate more than 1000MW-hours of energy per year, corresponding to the needs of 366 three-person households and an annual CO2 savings of about 875 tons. More than 17, 070 FS-275 thin-film modules were installed for the 12,400m2 facility. More than 120 inverters transform the power into alternating current, which is then fed into the local network from the internal First Solar network.

“Our corporate philosophy is to generate environmentally friendly energy at competitive prices,” says Burghard von Westerholt, plant manager & managing director of First Solar Manufacturing GmbH.

First Solar has been producing solar modules in Frankfurt (Oder) since 2007, and currently has almost 700 staff in Germany. Last month, it announced plans to double production capacity there by the end of 2011, creating several hundred new jobs.

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