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First Solar doubles up module agreements

Deals with Origis Energy and Silicon Ranch for solar panels Metal Tech News – April 13, 2022


Last updated 4/12/2022 at 3:03pm

First Solar photovoltaic PV Origis Energy Silicon Ranch thin-film modules US

First Solar Inc.

First Solar has invested over $2B in its US manufacturing footprint and when its third factory is fully operational, will directly employ approximately 2,500 people in Ohio.

In two back-to-back deals, First Solar Inc. has secured contracts for the installation of 4.75 gigawatts of responsibly produced thin-film photovoltaic solar modules.

Origis Energy, one of America's largest solar and energy storage developers, placed an order for 750 megawatts of the cadmium telluride thin film photovoltaic modules produced by First Solar.

"This 750 MW solar agreement builds on a long-term alliance between the First Solar and Origis teams," said Samir Verstyn, chief investment officer and operations officer at Origis Energy. "Front and center is always our commitment to meet customer clean energy goals."

First Solar and Origis share a long-standing relationship spanning five years and over 1.5 GW of thin film modules. Designed and developed at its research and development centers in California and Ohio, First Solar's advanced thin film PV modules set industry benchmarks for quality, durability, reliability, design, and environmental performance.

"This mission has been put to the test by the unprecedented headwinds impacting the solar industry," continued Verstyn. "Such an environment makes it even more important to work with market partners who have consistently delivered."

To further expedite the growing need for sustainable, renewable energy, First Solar is investing $680 million in expanding America's domestic PV solar manufacturing capacity by 3.3 GW annually, by building its third US manufacturing facility in Lake Township, Ohio.

The new facility is expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2023, and when fully operational will scale the company's Northwest Ohio footprint to a total annual capacity of 6 GW, which is believed to make it the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing complex outside of China.

Utilizing First Solar's agile contracting approach, Origis will benefit from any advances in technology through 2024, when the CadTel thin film modules will be delivered to its projects across the United States.

"We applaud First Solar's build out of its domestic PV solar manufacturing capacity," said Verstyn. "Today's announcement is an important step forward in fulfilling the renewable energy goals of our utility and corporate customers across America."

To date, First Solar has invested over $2 billion in its US manufacturing footprint and, when its third factory is fully operational, will directly employ approximately 2,500 people in Ohio, while supporting an estimated 7,000 indirect jobs through its American supply chain.

"At First Solar, we value long-term relationships with partners like Origis because they are based on trust and a respect for mutually-held values and principles," said First Solar CEO Georges Antoun. "At a time of unprecedented supply and pricing volatility across the solar industry, our ability to deliver and stand behind our commitments is a crucial differentiator that serves to strengthen relationships like these. We thank the team at Origis for their continued trust in First Solar and our technology."

To add to this growing success, First Solar's expanded contract with Origis was quickly followed by the signing of an agreement to supply Silicon Ranch, one of the nation's largest independent power producers, with 4 gigawatts of the same modules to be delivered from 2023 to 2025.

This significant agreement, one of the largest for First Solar, represents the latest milestone in the relationship between two best-in-class solar businesses, advancing the U.S. energy transition while supporting American solar manufacturing growth.

The growing strategic partnership began several years ago, when Silicon Ranch contracted First Solar to supply the modules for its Aerojet Rocketdyne Solar Farm in Arkansas, the state's first utility-scale solar project.

"Since the beginning of our relationship, it has been clear that Silicon Ranch recognizes the value of taking a long-term view on procuring solar technology," said Antoun. "Long-term module supply agreements with a trusted partner provide a vital hedge against the pricing and supply uncertainties that have impacted the solar industry over the past few years. And with First Solar's agile contracting strategy, Silicon Ranch will have added benefit of access to our best-in-class PV technologies as they continue to evolve."

The partnership between these industry leaders has grown substantially across the US since then, with over 30 projects totaling more than 1 GW.

"We have grown our business at Silicon Ranch through our faith in the power of collaborative partnerships, and we are thrilled to expand our relationship with First Solar as we accelerate our growth strategy across the country," said Silicon Ranch CEO Reagan Farr.

First Solar Inc

Under this expanding partnership, end-of-life CadTel modules from Silicon Ranch projects can be processed by First Solar's advanced recycling program, which recovers approximately 90% of the cadmium and tellurium material, which can then be used to manufacture new modules. Aluminum, glass, and laminates are also recycled for other projects, which is important to Silicon Ranch and its customers.

"Silicon Ranch's business model of long-term asset ownership demands that we emphasize best-in-class strategic partners and requires us to consider the future in every action we take, from the modules we buy all the way through to how we manage the land we occupy," Carr added. "Our customers care about the carbon impact of their procurement choices, and so do we at Silicon Ranch. We are already proving that we can sequester carbon on our sites through our Regenerative Energy model of land management, and this partnership with First Solar enables us to improve the carbon footprint of our module supply, while also supporting additional investment in US manufacturing capabilities."


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