29 September 2022
5N Plus renews and increases multi-year supply agreement with First Solar
Specialty semiconductor and performance materials producer 5N Plus Inc of Montreal, Québec, Canada has renewed and increased its multi-year agreement for the supply of semiconductor materials for the manufacture of cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules by First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA
This latest agreement is the largest award to date and signals a transition to higher volumes of value-added compound semiconductor materials. In line with First Solar’s recently announced growth plans, annual volume is expected to increase by 35% in 2023 and by more than 100% in 2024 from current levels.
As with previous agreements, the contract is structured asymmetrically, allowing 5N Plus to make the necessary planned investments in its Montreal facility to significantly increase the domestic supply of materials to the North American market by late 2023, incrementally to its current international offering. Investments in 5N Plus’ manufacturing assets to increase production capacity will be in addition to those already being made to consolidate the firm’s recycling and refining activities in Montreal. 5N Plus is also expanding the development and manufacturing of critical materials, including advanced semiconductor compounds and engineered powders used in solar, medical and security technologies, at this location.
“Not only does this renewal stand as a testament to the strong 15-year partnership between 5N Plus and First Solar but also to our essential role and the unique expertise we bring to critical industries, offering sustainable sourcing solutions,” says 5N Plus’ president & CEO Gervais Jacques. “As we execute on our strategy focused on value-added business opportunities, this agreement further cements our standing as a leading global supplier of engineered semiconductor compounds to the thin-film renewable energy industry. We remain extremely motivated by the sector’s long-term outlook and the opportunities ahead for 5N Plus,” he adds.
“As we continue to scale our ability to deliver responsibly produced PV modules in support of America's transition to a sustainable energy future, it is crucial that we can rely on a partner like 5N Plus to deliver the semiconductor materials we need,” says Mike Koralewski, chief manufacturing operations officer, First Solar. “We’re pleased to renew this already long-standing relationship and look forward to working with 5N Plus as we work to grow our global annual capacity to more than 20GW by 2025.”
5N Plus’ specialty semiconductor materials are used in First Solar’s Series 6 and 7 PV modules. First Solar PV modules currently deliver carbon and water footprints that are reckoned to be 2-3 times lower than crystalline silicon PV panels. As part of the agreement in place, 5N Plus and First Solar will also collaborate on the development and the supply of other renewable energy products to support the growth and improvement of cadmium telluride thin-film technology.