16 March 2010


First Solar becomes associated partner of Desertec Industrial Initiative

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, has joined the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII) as an associated partner to demonstrate the potential of photovoltaic (PV) solar technology to provide clean, sustainable energy on a vast scale by harnessing the desert sun.

As a provider of utility-scale solar power plants, First Solar says that it is the first pure PV company to join Desertec. Initiated last year by non-profit-organization Desertec Foundation and reinsurance company Munich Re (together with other founding members ABB, energy groups E.ON and RWE, Deutsche Bank, HSH Nordbank, M+W Zander, MAN Solar Millenium, SCHOTT Solar, SIEMENS, Spain’s ABENGOA Solar and Algeria’s Cevital industrial group), DII aims to provide a significant portion of the electricity for the Middle East and Northern Africa as well as Europe by 2050 via a network of solar and wind energy sources.

“We look forward to working with Desertec to demonstrate the potential of renewable energies - and PV in particular - to deliver clean, reliable power to the people of Africa and the Middle East as well as Europe,” says Stephan Hansen, managing director of First Solar GmbH, the firm’s European sales & customer service unit for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “The challenges of energy security and global warming demand bold solutions, and Desertec certainly provides an ambitious vision,” he adds.

“As a high-performance, low-maintenance technology that can be deployed in stages and deliver clean energy quickly, PV is the ideal complement to other renewable energies already represented in Desertec,” says Hansen, claiming that First Solar’s thin-film technology delivers superior energy yields even under hot desert conditions.

As an associated partner of Desertec for an initial period of three years, First Solar will contribute utility-scale PV expertise in Desertec working groups and prepare the ground for reference projects and a roll-out plan. Desertec’s founders include other leading companies in the solar and wind energy business as well as in electricity distribution.

First Solar has already built utility-scale solar power plants in desert conditions in the USA and United Arab Emirates and is preparing the way for a 2GW solar power plant in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia.

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