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24 September 2019

First Solar sets 25GW milestone for thin-film solar as it celebrates 20th anniversary

Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA is celebrating two decades since its founding in 1999 and 25GWDC of photovoltaic (PV) modules shipped, making it the only American solar manufacturing firm to achieve this milestone.

“Today, First Solar powers communities, infrastructure, and decarbonization ambitions with the world’s cleanest PV solar technology; technology that forms the backbone of utility-scale solar fleets in some of the largest markets around the globe,” says CEO Mark Widmar.

First Solar’s technological roots are in Perrysburg, Ohio, where the firm achieved commercial production of its proprietary thin-film module technology in 2002. Since then, it has celebrated milestones including the establishment of the industry’s first PV module recycling program in 2005, and becoming the first solar module maker to break the $1 per watt barrier, while also producing 1GW of modules in 2009.

More recently, First Solar has transitioned to its new large-format Series 6 module, which was designed and developed at its R&D centers in California and Ohio. The module leverages First Solar’s proprietary thin-film technology, retaining the proven performance and reliability advantages of earlier-generation modules. Produced in just 3.5 hours using fully integrated manufacturing processes at factories in the USA, Malaysia and Vietnam, the Series 6 module has a carbon footprint that is said to be up to six times lower than crystalline silicon PV panels manufactured using conventional, energy-intensive production methods.

First Solar says it is on track to become the largest solar module maker in the Western Hemisphere when its second Series 6 factory in the USA – representing nearly $1bn in cumulative investment – becomes operational in early 2020. The new facility in Perrysburg, Ohio, will take First Solar’s aggregate Series 6 manufacturing capacity to 5.4GW per year.

“From 1.5MW of annual production less than two decades ago to multiple gigawatts today, our journey has seen us successfully overcome challenges and make the most of opportunities,” says Widmar. “Our ability to not just survive but to thrive in challenging environments that have claimed a number of our competitors is due to the relentless energy and the sense of purpose that drives us as a company.”

Meanwhile, operations and maintenance (O&M) provider First Solar Energy Services is also celebrating its tenth year and 10GW of assets under management. Recognized as the global industry leader in operating and maintaining utility-scale solar plants by Wood Mackenzie and IHS, First Solar Energy Services’ technology-agnostic experience spans several PV, tracker and inverter manufacturers.

See related items:

First Solar outsourcing US EPC to third-party providers

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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