19 September 2022
First Solar to supply 600MW of Series 7 CdTe PV modules to Azure Power
First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has agreed to supply 600MWDC of its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules to independent sustainable energy solutions provider and renewable power producer Azure Power Global Ltd of New Delhi, India.
The agreement is the first for production from First Solar’s new manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India, which is expected to be commissioned in second-half 2023. Azure is expected to take delivery of First Solar’s Series 7 photovoltaic (PV) solar modules from fourth-quarter 2023 to 2025.
“Having a long-term agreement with global solar modules technology leaders like First Solar is key to de-risking our supply side with the latest technology available in the market,” says Azure Power’s acting CEO Rupesh Agarwal.
First Solar’s vertically integrated manufacturing facility near Chennai is projected to have an annual nameplate capacity of 3.3GWDC and is expected to produce a version of the Series 7 module optimized for the Indian market. Unique among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers for being the only US-headquartered company, First Solar produces its thin-film PV modules using a fully integrated, continuous process under one roof.
Azure Power developed India's first utility-scale solar project in 2009 and, since then, it has been developing and operating large utility-scale renewable energy projects in the country. “Our relationship with Azure Power goes back over a decade and we are pleased that it is the launch customer for a product that has not only been designed for India but made in India, for India,” says First Solar’s chief commercial officer Georges Antoun. “This deal demonstrates how experienced developers and independent power producers in India are increasingly taking a strategic view on procurement and securing long-term commitments that help tackle the risks of short-term pricing and supply volatility,” he adds. “When working with First Solar, they benefit from certainty of pricing and supply, and a technology that is advantaged in India’s operating environments.”
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, with a carbon footprint 2.5 times lower and a water footprint three times lower than the average crystalline silicon solar panel made with cells produced in China, for example. Additionally, 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.
In addition to its new manufacturing facility in India and a third factory in the USA (both of which should come online in 2023), First Solar recently announced that it plans to invest up to $1.2bn in building a fourth factory in the US Southeast and is expanding the capacity of its existing manufacturing footprint in Ohio. The new investments are expected to scale the firm’s annual manufacturing capacity in the USA by 4.4GWDC, allowing it to reach over 20GWDC of global annual manufacturing capacity by 2025.