27 July 2023
Matrix to procure 2.1GW of First Solar PV modules
First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has entered into a framework agreement for new customer Matrix Renewables of Madrid, Spain, the TPG Rise-backed global renewable energy platform, to procure about 2.1GWDC of its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic modules, for delivery in 2024–2027 for projects in the USA and Spain. Matrix Renewables was created and backed by global alternative asset manager TPG and its $17bn investing platform TPG Rise.
Across the USA, Matrix owns more than 6GW of projects in various stages of development across four different regions (CAISO, MISO, ERCOT and WECC) and continues to expand its pipeline and team to capitalize on the large demand for renewable energy in the USA. Including Matrix’s presence in Spain, Italy and Chile, Matrix’s footprint has already surpassed 13GW of solar power, battery storage and green hydrogen projects globally.
“As a purpose-driven company, and as part of our supply chain strategy of partnering with technology market leaders, we are thrilled to be working with First Solar to supply our projects in the US market, and a number of our Spanish projects, with responsibly produced ultra-low-carbon PV modules,” says Matrix’s president Luis Sabate. “With this deal, we’re getting access to solar technology without compromising on competitiveness or performance.”
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. As well as being the largest solar manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere, the firm is the only company among 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. 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.
“Matrix is the latest in a number of large IPPs [independent power producers], in the US and internationally, that are choosing to partner with First Solar not just on the strength of our technology and competitiveness but also because we share the same values,” says First Solar’s chief commercial officer Georges Antoun. “This latest order underscores our belief that a growing number of developers are recognizing the value of Responsible Solar and of working with a partner that delivers on its commitments.”
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 expected investment in a new 3.5GWDC facility in Alabama, the firm has also embarked on a $185m expansion of its existing manufacturing footprint in Ohio. First Solar 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.