17 May 2022
Scout Clean Energy orders 378MW of First Solar’s PV modules
First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has signed an agreement to supply 378MWDC of its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules to renewable energy developer and owner-operator Scout Clean Energy of Boulder, CO, USA (a portfolio company of Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners). The deal was booked prior to the release of First Solar’s first-quarter 2022 earnings in April.
Scout has over 1200MW of operating assets, and is actively developing a portfolio over 12,000MW of solar PV, battery storage and onshore wind projects spread across 21 US states. The firm plans to use the First Solar modules to begin construction on several late-stage projects, with the start of operations expected in 2024.
“We continue to develop and grow our portfolio of solar PV assets across the US,” says Scout’s founder & CEO Michael Rucker. “This deal reflects our confidence not just in the technology, but in First Solar itself. Sourcing our modules from a US-based supply partner at this challenging time solidifies our competitive advantage in meeting our customers’ urgent timing needs for solar power to meet their decarbonization goals,” he adds. “As we diversify Scout’s asset base and grow our solar portfolio, we want to source our panels through partners that we can trust to deliver with no compromise on quality, ethical sourcing of raw materials and who is committed to ongoing innovation. First Solar readily satisfies those critical criteria for Scout.”
“Experienced developers like Scout Clean Energy understand the criticality of both insulating themselves from pricing and supply volatility, and staying true to their values and principles,” comments Adam Smith, VP, global business development, First Solar. “They also recognize the value of technological and supply diversity, and of a competitive product that embodies sustainability and transparency,” he adds. “Together, these factors are invaluable in helping them navigate some of the headwinds that others in the industry struggle with.”
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 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 by 2024. First Solar is the only US-headquartered company among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers.