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31 July 2019

First Solar’s 150MWAC Sun Streams 2 project to power Microsoft data centers in Arizona

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA – which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services – says that the 150MWAC Sun Streams 2 photovoltaic (PV) solar plant that it is developing and constructing in Maricopa County will power (under a 20-year agreement) new energy-efficient data centers being built by Microsoft Corp in Goodyear and El Mirage, Arizona.

The plant will use First Solar’s proprietary Series 6 module technology, which has a carbon footprint up to six times lower than conventionally manufactured crystalline silicon PV panels, it is reckoned. To meet the demand for Series 6 modules, First Solar is expanding its manufacturing capacity with its second facility in the USA - representing nearly $1bn in cumulative investment - expected to start production in early 2020. Once the facility in Perrysburg, Ohio is operational, First Solar is expected to be the western hemisphere’s largest solar module manufacturer.

“First Solar’s high-tech factories, which are some of the most sophisticated and sustainable facilities of their type in the world, are enabled by Microsoft technologies and the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, including Azure IoT Hub and SQL Data Warehouse,” notes Brian Janous, general manager of Energy and Sustainability at Microsoft. “The Series 6 modules produced by these factories will power Sun Streams 2 which, in turn, will be used to deliver renewable energy to our world-class data centers in Arizona,” he adds.

Once operational in 2021, the Sun Streams 2 project will displace 190,000 metric tons of CO2 annually (equivalent to taking 37,000 cars off the road every year and saving 356 million liters of water annually, based on Arizona averages). The air quality benefits of the project will amount to more than $12.5m in avoided healthcare costs annually, it is reckoned.

Construction of Sun Streams 2 should begin in late-2019 and provide up to 500 construction jobs. Aligned with Arizona’s renewable energy policy, the project will contribute significant economic benefits to Maricopa County, including increased tax revenues to support local schools.

These data centers will be “important drivers of local investment and economic growth,” says Kathryn Arbeit, First Solar’s VP of project development. “This collaboration with Microsoft demonstrates just how large-scale solar can unlock value for local communities that benefit not only from the generation of jobs but also from the tax revenues for the county.”

See related items:

First Solar’s Series 6 PV module completes CSA/ANSI C450 Test Protocol

First Solar to build new 1.2GW Series 6 module manufacturing plant, tripling US capacity

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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