23 June 2022
National Grid Renewables orders 2GW of First Solar modules
First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has signed a framework agreement to supply 2GWDC of its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules to Minneapolis-headquartered National Grid Renewables, for delivery in 2024 and 2025 throughout the USA. The deal was booked prior to the release of First Solar’s first-quarter 2022 earnings in April.
Over the past decade, National Grid Renewables and First Solar have partnered on multiple projects, including the recently operational 200MW Prairie Wolf Solar Project in Illinois and the currently under construction Noble Solar (275MW) and Storage (125MWh) Project in Texas. As a farmer-friendly and community-focused company, National Grid Renewables develops projects for corporations and utilities that seek to repower America’s electricity grid by reigniting local economies and reinvesting in a sustainable future. As part of the Ventures division of National Grid, National Grid Renewables develops, owns and operates large-scale renewable energy assets across the USA, including solar, wind and energy storage projects.
“National Grid Renewables and First Solar share more than just deep roots in the US Midwest and a longstanding strategic partnership. We share a common view on the need to create a sustainable energy future,” says Nathan Franzen, VP development for National Grid Renewables.
First Solar notes that it is the only one of the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers 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, and has zero tolerance for forced labor in its manufacturing or its supply chains. Its modules have a carbon footprint that is 2.5 times lower and a water footprint that is three times lower than the average crystalline silicon solar panel made with cells produced in China, the firm claims.
“Experienced project developers and owner-operators like National Grid Renewables understand the criticality of both insulating themselves from pricing and supply volatility and staying true to their values and principles,” says First Solar’s chief commercial officer Georges Antoun. “Both factors are invaluable in helping them successfully navigate some of the industry’s headwinds.”
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 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.