31 March 2023
EDP Renewables orders 1.8GW of First Solar modules
EDP Renewables of Madrid, Spain has placed a multi-year order for 1.8GWdc cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules from First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA. To be delivered up to 2028, the modules will power US projects developed by subsidiary EDP Renewables North America LLC (EDPR NA) of Houston, TX, USA.
EDP Renewables operates in 28 markets around the globe. North America is its biggest market in terms of installed capacity and production, where it operates 475MW of solar projects and has 1.6GW of solar capacity under construction. In addition, EDPR operates over 200 distributed generation solar sites throughout North America. Including both utility-scale and distributed generation, EDPR plans to add 4.8GW of solar capacity in North America in 2023–2026.
“EDP Renewables’ ambitious business plan calls for more than 4GW of renewable capacity annually through 2026 with nearly half of the new clean energy generation to come from North America,” says EDPR NA’s CEO Sandhya Ganapathy. “Solar is an increasingly important technology in our portfolio, and we are well positioned to work with innovative and environmentally responsible partners and products that can help us meet our outlined targets.”
First Solar is the only one of 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, and the company says that it has zero tolerance for forced labor in its manufacturing or its supply chains. First Solar claims that its modules have the lowest carbon and water footprint of any commercially available PV module today and that it is the first PV manufacturer to have its product included in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) global registry for sustainable electronics.
“We welcome EDP Renewables’ decision to power its projects with our technology and look forward to supporting its growth in the US and, potentially, beyond,” says First Solar’s CEO Mark Widmar. “EDP Renewables joins a growing roster of large, sophisticated developers choosing long-term pricing and supply certainty, and responsibly produced solar modules by powering their projects with First Solar’s technology,” he adds. “This validates the value that our customers place in our differentiation, not just in technology but our way of doing business.”
First Solar says that, with this strategic agreement, EDPR is de-risking its solar pipeline in the USA by securing equipment for its expected growth in the utility and distributed generation segments. Additionally, this allows EDPR to increase its commitment to local content in the USA, while also pursuing its strategy of supply chain and technology diversification. The partnership between the firms began in 2019, when EDPR acquired a 50% stake in a 278MW solar portfolio developed by First Solar.
First Solar is expanding its US manufacturing footprint, from over 5GW of annual nameplate capacity (in three operating factories in Ohio) to over 10GW by 2025 (when it completes its new $1.1bn factory in Alabama and a $185m expansion of its existing capacity in Ohio). The firm is also investing $270m in a new R&D innovation center in Ohio. Additionally, it expects to commission its first factory in India in second-half 2023, adding 3.4GW of new nameplate annual capacity. The firm expects to have more than 20GW of annual global nameplate manufacturing capacity by 2025.