AES Semigas


22 November 2021

Lightsource bp and bp order up to 5.4GW of First Solar modules

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA says that San Francisco-based solar energy project developer and manager Lightsource bp and integrated energy company bp (America’s largest energy investor since 2005, which has a 50% stake in the joint venture) have placed multi-year orders for up to 5.4GW combined of its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. As part of the deal, Lightsource bp and bp have placed firm orders for about 4.4GWDC of modules, with options for an additional 1GWDC.

Lightsource bp has agreed to procure up to 4.3GWDC of modules for its US utility-scale projects, and bp will procure up to 1.1GWDC to power their projects being developed by Lightsource bp. bp acquired the projects as part of its net zero ambition and target to grow its net developed renewable generating capacity to 20GW by 2025 and 50GW by 2030. Planned deployments for both companies include projects in Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The framework agreements, the largest in First Solar’s history, will provide modules scheduled to be delivered between 2023 and 2025 to support the companies’ solar development pipelines in the USA. Under the agreement, First Solar has firm orders for 1.55GWDC of modules in 2023, 1.3GWDC in 2024, and 1.55GWDC in 2025.

“This landmark solar industry procurement deal is a testimony to Lightsource bp’s exponential growth in the United States, and our confidence in First Solar’s technology,” says Kevin Smith, CEO Americas, Lightsource bp. “As we continue to grow and progress our 10GW development pipeline across America, in addition to our partner bp’s 9GWs, executing significant long-term procurement agreements with bankable, world-class suppliers like First Solar enables us to deliver on our growth plans and industry-leading global target of 25GW of solar by 2025,” he adds.

“To help reach our net-zero ambition and develop 50GW of renewable power by the end of this decade, we continue to invest in clean, reliable energy in the US,” says Felipe Arbelaez, bp’s senior VP of zero carbon energy. “Today’s announcement reflects the speed in which we’re moving... These modules are a critical step in delivering our 9GW solar pipeline,” he adds. bp aims to deliver 20GW of developed renewables by 2025.

Picture: The 163MW Elm Branch solar power project in Texas was developed by Lightsource bp and is powered by First Solar Series 6 photovoltaic modules. (Photo: Lightsource bp)

As well as having access to modules produced at First Solar’s fully vertically integrated manufacturing complex in Ohio, Lightsource bp and bp will benefit from the evolution of the firm’s CdTe thin-film module technology platform over the span of the agreement.

“The US solar industry is at an important inflection point where it must continue the charge towards delivering 45% of our country’s electricity by 2050 while addressing the risks and uncertainty posed by increasingly volatile solar panel production, pricing and supply,” says First Solar’s chief commercial officer Georges Antoun. “Our ability to help our customers manage these risks by providing long-term firm pricing and supply commitments, backed by First Solar’s reputation, is a key differentiator,” he reckons.

In addition to the multi-year module sales agreement, First Solar also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore opportunities to source electricity from generation assets developed, owned and operated by Lightsource bp in Ohio, where First Solar operates the Western Hemisphere’s largest solar manufacturing footprint. When it joined RE100 in 2020, First Solar committed to powering 100% of its global manufacturing operations with renewable energy by 2028, with an interim goal of transitioning its facilities in the US to carbon-free electricity by 2026.

In June, First Solar announced that it is investing $680m to expand America’s domestic PV solar manufacturing capacity by 3.3GW annually by building its third US manufacturing facility (in Lake Township, Ohio). The new facility is expected to be commissioned in first-half 2023 and, when fully operational, will scale the firm’s Northwest Ohio footprint to a total annual capacity of 6GW, which is believed to make it the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing complex outside China.

In addition to its Ohio manufacturing facilities, First Solar also operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia, and has previously announced plans to build a new 3.3GW factory in India that is expected to be commissioned in second-half 2023. With First Solar’s expansion in the USA and India and optimization of its existing fleet, the firm anticipates that its nameplate manufacturing capacity will double to 16GW by 2024.

See related items:

First Solar breaks ground on $680m, 3.3GW Ohio manufacturing facility

First Solar expanding manufacturing footprint with 3.3GW plant in India

First Solar to invest $680m in expanding US PV manufacturing capacity by 3.3GW to 6GW

Tags: First Solar CdTe



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