AES Semigas


12 August 2021

First Solar commits to science-based emissions targets, net-zero emissions by 2050

Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has committed to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 20% by 2028, relative to its emissions in 2020. It has also committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

The science-based targets further the firm’s previous 2021 GHG intensity reduction target, which was achieved three years in advance of its commitment. These new targets are in line with international efforts to limit the global temperature rise to below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Scope 1 accounts for direct GHG emissions from company-owned and controlled resources, while Scope 2 accounts for indirect GHG emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by the company.

Every year, First Solar products deployed globally are displacing more than ten times the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions that the firm emits through its global operations and supply chain, assuming average worldwide irradiance and grid electricity emissions. The company’s PV modules feature the industry’s smallest carbon and water footprints, and fastest energy payback time.

“As this week’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed, we need to treat the threat of climate change with a sense of urgency and do more than simply our part to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy,” says CEO Mark Widmar. “The solar industry is on the forefront of the fight against climate change and has a responsibility to lead by example,” he adds. “While First Solar’s technology addresses the need to decarbonize the global energy portfolio with ultra-low carbon solar, today we’re stepping up and pledging to reduce our already-low emissions to zero by 2050.”

This commitment is a continuation of First Solar’s progress. Since 2008, company-wide GHG emissions intensity decreased by about 77% as a result of increased module efficiency, manufacturing throughput and capacity utilization, decreased emissions intensity of purchased grid electricity, along with energy conservation and low carbon initiatives. In 2020, the firm’s GHG emissions intensity decreased by 31% compared with 2019, primarily due to the greater throughput and enhanced energy efficiency of its Series 6 module manufacturing process.

First Solar aims to achieve its science-based targets through increased energy efficiency, going 100% renewable across its US operations by 2026 and globally by 2028, working on enabling the offsite solar market in Malaysia and Vietnam, and purchasing bundled RECs and offsets as a last resort, as outlined in its recently published 2021 Sustainability Report. The report was developed in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Core Sustainability Reporting Standards and incorporates metrics from the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) solar, as referenced in the sustainability leadership standard for PV modules and inverters (NSF/ANSI 457 – 2019).

Tags: First Solar CdTe