25 July 2023
Tennessee Valley Authority secures 279MW of PV panels from First Solar
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) of Knoxville, TN, the USA’s largest public power supplier (delivering energy to 10 million people across seven south-eastern states), has secured 279MWDC of cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic panels from First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA for its planned Lawrence County Solar Project in Alabama, which is expected to begin commercial operation in 2027. The project reflects TVA’s growing emphasis on solar in the region which, by 2025, is also expected to become the home of one of the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing facilities in the USA, when First Solar commissions its fourth American factory.
“Through our work with First Solar, TVA will continue to integrate more renewable generation into our overall portfolio with solar technology developed and manufactured in America,” says Roger Waldrep, vice president, TVA Major Projects.
First Solar is investing about $1.3bn in expanding its US manufacturing footprint from over 6.5GWDC of annual nameplate capacity currently to about 10.9GWDC by 2026. In addition to the $1.1bn being invested in its new 3.5GWDC panel manufacturing plant in Lawrence County, First Solar has also embarked on a $185m expansion of its existing manufacturing footprint in Ohio. The largest solar manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere has also announced an investment of up to $370m for a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, which is expected to be completed in 2024.
“As we scale our manufacturing footprint and supply chains, it is vital that the communities we operate in benefit from our creation of jobs, economic value, and clean electricity produced by our solar technology,” says First Solar’s chief commercial officer Georges Antoun.
First Solar says that its thin-film semiconductor, integrated manufacturing process and tightly controlled supply chain helps to eliminate the risk of exposure to solar supply chains identified by the US Department of Labor’s 2022 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor as being tainted by forced labor. The firm is the only company among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers that is 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. First Solar claims that it is also the first PV manufacturer to have its product included in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) global registry for sustainable electronics.