18 June 2020
Dow signs 15-year PPA with First Solar for 75% of capacity of 200MW Horizon Solar project
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 – has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Dow Inc for its Gulf Coast operations. Dow’s Texas Operations comprise the largest petrochemical site in the western hemisphere. First Solar had previously disclosed the execution of the PPA without identifying the offtaker.
First Solar will supply Dow with renewable energy from 75% of its 200MWAC Horizon Solar project in Frio County, TX. The project will utilize First Solar’s Series 6 photovoltaic (PV) modules, designed and developed at its R&D centers in California and Ohio. The modules will utilize a range of technologies, including ENGAGE PV Polyolefin Elastomers by Dow, which are used as encapsulant films to enhance the module’s performance and efficiency.
“Multiple raw materials, components and derivative products produced by Dow contribute to the reliability and sustainability of First Solar’s module technology, including ENGAGE PV polyolefin elastomers,” says Edward Stones, Dow’s global business director for Energy and Climate Change. “Now we are putting that technology to work in helping to power our operations in Texas and to reach Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goal of obtaining 750MW of our power demand from renewable sources.”
With up to six times lower carbon footprint and 24 times lower water impact than conventional crystalline silicon PV panels on a life-cycle basis, the module delivers a superior environmental profile and the lowest carbon solar electricity available, it is claimed. In addition to having the lowest water footprint in the solar industry, First Solar has reduced its manufacturing water intensity per watt produced by 64% since 2009. For example, First Solar recycles rejected water from a purification system back into a raw water tank. This has helped it to save more than 400 million liters of water since 2018.
“The agreement also enables the addition of resilient, reliable solar capacity to our nation’s electricity grid,” notes Karl Brutsaert, First Solar’s senior director, Corporate Renewables.
The portion of the solar facility covered by the PPA will generate enough electricity to power up to 25,000 average Texas homes, while displacing 147,000 metric tons of CO2 annually (equivalent to planting 2.4 million trees per year). The project will create about 350 jobs at the peak of construction.
First Solar recently expanded its manufacturing capacity to meet the increasing demand for Series 6 modules, starting production at its new module manufacturing facility in Lake Township, Ohio, last October.