2 December 2011

First Solar signs 2°C Challenge Communiqué

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which manufactures thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services, has signed the 2°C Challenge Communiqué as global leaders converged this week on Durban, South Africa for the next round of United Nations Climate Change Conference, which includes the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Price reductions in photovoltaics just since Copenhagen [COP15, in December 2009] have put renewables on a trajectory to reach parity with unsubsidized fossil fuels,” says First Solar’s chief technology officer David Eaglesham. “To promote further progress towards a low-carbon and 100% renewable energy society, we urge the leaders at Durban to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and ultimately to set a price on carbon that is sufficient to dissuade people from burning it,” he adds.

Initiated by The Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (CLG) and managed and developed by the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, the 2˚C Challenge Communiqué calls on governments to break the deadlock in the international climate negotiations and take the necessary action at the national level to ensure a successful transition to green growth and a climate-resilient economy.

The Communiqué notes that, if they fail to act, governments “risk permanent damage to their credibility”, but the right action would “secure a low-carbon-emission economy that is more resilient, more efficient and less vulnerable to global shock”. Without an international deal, “business will have insufficient clarity or certainty of action to invest to its full potential”.

In mid-November, First Solar announced the achievement of a cumulative production milestone of 5GW of thin-film solar modules (collectively displacing 3.3 million tons of CO2 emissions and representing the equivalent of planting 84 million trees or removing 650,000 cars from the road).

However, First Solar says that demand for solar energy remains constrained in many markets by artificially low prices for conventional energies based on fossil fuels, which emit CO2 when they are burned to provide energy. The International Energy Agency’s latest estimates indicate that fossil-fuel consumption subsidies worldwide amounted to $409bn in 2010, up from $300bn in 2009, with subsidies to oil products representing almost half of the total.

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

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