15 December 2022
National Grid Renewables orders 1.6GW of First Solar modules, for delivery in 2026-2027
First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has entered into an agreement to supply 1.6GWDC of its Series 7 cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules to Minneapolis-based National Grid Renewables, for delivery in 2026 and 2027. The deal was booked prior to the release of First Solar’s third-quarter 2022 earnings in October.
The latest order expands First Solar’s relationship with National Grid Renewables to over 4GWDC, with an earlier agreement for 2GWDC of modules announced in June. National Grid Renewables and First Solar have also partnered on multiple projects over a decade-long relationship that includes the 200MW Prairie Wolf Solar Project in Illinois and the Noble Solar (275MW) and Storage (125MWh) Project in Texas.
National Grid Renewables is part of the Ventures division of National Grid plc and has a portfolio of large-scale renewable energy assets including solar, wind and energy storage projects located throughout the USA in various stages of development, construction and operation.
Developed in close collaboration with engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) companies, and structure and component providers, First Solar’s Series 7 modules combine its CadTel technology with a larger form factor and a new back rail mounting system to deliver improved efficiency, enhanced installation velocity, and superior lifetime energy performance for US utility-scale PV projects.
“National Grid Renewables is an experienced developer and operator of large-scale solar projects, and its decision to invest in Series 7 is a testament to the track record of our CadTel platform, and its ability to enhance the competitiveness of solar assets,” says First Solar’s chief commercial officer Georges Antoun. “It is also a testament to our value proposition of providing our customers and partners with long-term supply certainty and lower political and compliance risks. This critical point of differentiation separates us from many of our competitors,” he claims.
Designed and developed at its R&D centers in California and Ohio, First Solar’s thin-film PV modules are said to set industry benchmarks for quality, durability, reliability, design and environmental performance. The modules are claimed to have the lowest carbon and water footprint of any commercially available PV technology.
Additionally, First Solar’s thin-film semiconductor, integrated manufacturing process and tightly controlled supply chain helps to eliminate the risk of exposure to solar supply chains identified by the US Department of Labor’s 2022 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor as being tainted by forced labor. First Solar is the only company among the ten largest solar manufacturers globally to be a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), the world’s largest industry coalition dedicated to supporting the rights and well-being of workers and communities in the global supply chain. The firm is also the first PV manufacturer to have its product included in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) global registry for sustainable electronics.
As the only US-headquartered company among the world’s largest solar manufacturers, First Solar is expanding its manufacturing capacity at home and abroad. In addition to a third factory under construction in Ohio, the firm recently announced that it is expanding its Ohio manufacturing footprint and establishing a new manufacturing facility (its fourth American manufacturing facility) in Alabama. These latest investments are expected to bring First Solar’s total investment in American manufacturing to over $4bn, while its annual US manufacturing capacity is forecasted to expand to over 10GWDC by 2025. The firm also plans to invest about $270m in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, which is expected to be completed in 2024, contingent upon permitting and pending approval of various state, regional and local incentives.