AES Semigas


25 July 2022

First Solar to supply 500MW of CdTe PV modules to France’s Akuo

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA says that independent global renewable energy producer and developer Akuo of Paris, France has placed an order for 500MWDC of its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules, comprising the delivery of 200MWDC in first-half 2024 for a utility-scale project developed by Akuo in the USA, and the remainder in 2025 and 2026, potentially powering projects in Europe or other regions where Akuo is present.

Founded in 2007, Akuo has more than 450 staff and is present in 15 countries, including the USA, Spain, Greece, and Portugal. The firm ended 2021 with 1.4GW of assets in operation or under construction and a project development pipeline of over 7GW. The deal, which leverages First Solar’s agile contracting approach, allows Akuo to benefit from the evolution of First Solar’s CdTe module technology platform over the span of the agreement.

“The solar industry operates against a backdrop of volatility and uncertainty, and this agreement is part of a broader effort to reduce the long-term supply risks of our global portfolio to actually deliver our projects,” says Akuo’s CEO Eric Scotto. “First Solar’s ability to provide supply chain traceability and its commitment to responsible manufacturing was crucial to us. It leads the industry with its long history of establishing benchmarks in supply chain transparency and the low environmental footprint of its technology, all of which reflects our shared value of responsible business practices,” he adds. “As a European player, we are strongly committed to these values, echoing our ambition for the planet.”

Designed and developed at its R&D centers in California and Ohio, First Solar’s thin-film PV modules are claimed to set industry benchmarks for quality, durability, reliability, design and environmental performance. First Solar also operates a high-value recycling program that recovers about 90% of CdTe semiconductor material (which can be used to manufacture new modules) as well as other materials (including aluminium, glass and laminates). The firm operates commercial recycling facilities in the USA, Germany, Malaysia and Vietnam. Additionally, it 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.

“We’re pleased to welcome Akuo to a growing number of long-term strategic partnerships with experienced global developers that have placed their trust in First Solar and our technology,” says First Solar’s chief commercial officer Georges Antoun. “Developers in Europe are recognizing the risks associated with having a geographically concentrated solar supply chain and are electing to take a long-term approach to supply diversity and security by working with us. Our differentiation rests as much on our ability to help our customers navigate volatility and uncertainty as our technology.”

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 firm’s Northwest Ohio footprint to a total annual capacity of 6GW (making it the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing complex outside of 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 15,000 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 in 2024. First Solar is the only US-headquartered company among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers.

Tags: First Solar CdTe




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