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19 January 2015

First Solar reaches 10GW of installed PV capacity

At the start of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (where it is showcasing a range of solar energy solutions), cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA announced that it has achieved 10GW of photovoltaic (PV) solar capacity installed globally, making it the first thin-film PV module maker to achieve this.

Founded in 1999, First Solar made its first commercial shipment in 2002. Its thin-film modules have since been used in applications ranging from kilowatt-scale mini-grid and rooftop applications to multi-megawatt utility-scale solar energy plants. First Solar’s 10GW of installed module capacity (enough to circle the planet three-and-a-half times) produces an estimated 14,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. This is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of the city of Washington DC, or sufficient to power five million average households (displacing the need for as many as 20 average coal-powered plants).

“Solar is no longer a subsidy-driven extra; it has evolved into a valued component of the global generation portfolio, able to hold its own in terms of cost competitiveness and energy yield,” comments First Solar’s CEO James Hughes.

With what is reckoned to be the smallest carbon footprint of all solar technologies, First Solar says that its installed capacity displaces an estimated seven million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year (equivalent to planting 180 million trees). Also, with the lowest water use on a lifecycle basis, the use of First Solar’s thin-film modules helps to displace an estimated 18 billion liters of water per year (sufficient to fill 7000 Olympic-sized swimming pools), the firm adds.

A fully vertically integrated solar energy company, First Solar was also ranked as the world’s largest solar engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) contractor in 2014 (according to market research firm IHS Technology’s EPC and Integrator Market Share and Project Market Tracker), and has built some of the world’s largest solar power plants such as Agua Caliente (290MW) and the Topaz Solar Farm (550MW) in the USA and Luz del Norte (141MW) in Chile. Additionally, with a portfolio of over 2GW, First Solar says that it is also the industry’s operations and maintenance (O&M) services leader.

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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