13 April 2022
Nevada Gold Mines orders 260MW of First Solar’s PV modules
First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA says that its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar module technology will power 17% of the annual energy needs of Nevada Gold Mines (NGM). NGM is operated by Barrick Gold Corp and is a joint venture between Barrick (61.5%) and Newmont Corp (38.5%) that combined their assets across Nevada in 2019 to create the world’s largest gold-producing complex.
NGM, which produces about 3.5 million ounces of gold a year, is investing in building a solar power plant as part of a broader effort to decarbonize its operations and minimize its environmental footprint. As part of the deal, which was booked prior to the release of First Solar’s fourth-quarter 2021 earnings in February, 260MWDC of solar modules manufactured by First Solar in Ohio will be deployed to power the new 200MWAC facility in second-quarter 2023.
Barrick has committed to a 30% greenhouse gas reduction by 2030, with the goal of net-zero operations by 2050. NGM will support Barrick’s targets and has set an intermediate goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% (compared with its 2018 baseline) by 2025. This is expected to be achieved by the solar power plant and conversion of NGM’s coal-fired power plant to cleaner burning natural gas.
“We made the choice to contract with a supplier who shares our values, including a commitment to fair labor practices and investment in American manufacturing and American jobs,” says NGM’s executive managing director Greg Walker. “By partnering with First Solar we also found an innovator that can deliver high-performance solar panels with the lowest carbon footprint and the best environmental profile available today,” he adds. “While minimizing the environmental impacts of our operations, we bring sustainable long-term social and economic benefits to Nevada.”
“NGM is part of a growing wave of customers that are unwilling to compromise on quality or their principles, and choose to partner with First Solar,” says First Solar’s chief commercial officer Georges Antoun. “They partnered with us because we can deliver a high-performance module that comes without the social, environmental and political risks that are, unfortunately, associated with too many solar manufacturers today.”
First Solar is investing $680m in expanding 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 company’s Northwest Ohio footprint to a total annual capacity of 6GW (making it the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing complex outside China). First Solar has invested over $2bn in its US manufacturing footprint and, when its third factory is fully operational, will directly employ over 2500 people in Ohio, while supporting an estimated 7000 indirect jobs through its American supply chain.
In addition to its Ohio manufacturing facilities, First Solar also operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia, and is building 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 expects that its nameplate manufacturing capacity will double to 16GW by 2024.