First Solar secures 1 GW module order


First Solar announced Edmonton-based wholesale power producer Capital Power has ordered 1 GW of its Series 6 Plus solar modules. The modules are expected to be delivered between 2026 and 2028, as demand for First Solar’s technology pushes its orders further into the future.

“Capital Power joins a growing group of project developers that partner with First Solar as a reliable module technology provider that can help de-risk their project pipelines by delivering long-term pricing and supply certainty,” said Georges Antoun, chief commercial officer, First Solar. “We are pleased that Capital Power selected Responsible Solar technology to power its assets reliably, affordably and sustainably.”

Capital Power, committed to net zero emissions by 2045, operates 7.5 GW of capacity across 29 facilities in North America. The company has a mixed asset base of solar, wind, gas, energy storage, and waste heat facilities. It has a U.S. solar pipeline of about 2.4 GWdc.

During Q1 2023, First Solar executed 9.9 GW of contracts and recognized 1.9 GW of volume sold, resulting in a total backlog of 69.4 GW, with an aggregate value sold of $20.4 billion, which implies approximately $0.293 per watt, an increase of approximately half a penny per watt from Q4 2022. During the quarter, First Solar produced 2.36 GW of Series 6 panels, which had an average Watts per module of 467 W.

First Solar’s cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film modules have among the lowest carbon and water footprint of any commercially available PV module today. The company’s CdTe technology certified a new record in Q1 2023 with a conversion efficiency of 22.3%.

The modules are included in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry for sustainable electronics, signifying strong performance on metrics evaluating the management of substances in the product, manufacturing energy and water use, product packaging, end-of-life recycling and corporate responsibility.

“Credible life cycle-based ecolabels like EPEAT make it easier for solar developers, investors, and end-users to identify environmentally leading products from socially responsible companies,” said Samantha Sloan, vice president of policy, sustainability and marketing at First Solar.

The module provider is investing $1.3 billion in expanding its U.S. manufacturing footprint from over 6.5 GW of annual nameplate capacity today, to approximately 10.9 GW by 2026. About $1.1 billion was invested in the company’s new 3.5 GW facility in Alabama, and $185 million was directed to improve and expand its original facility in Ohio.

The company also announced an investment of up to $370 million in a research and development innovation center that is slated to begin operating in 2024.

First Solar also recently showcased fully functional, pre-commercial, bifacial thin-film PV modules at Intersolar Europe in Munich, Germany. First Solar’s research and development teams have reportedly developed a transparent back contact for the module. This innovative feature allows infrared wavelengths of light to pass through the back of the module instead of being absorbed as heat. It also enables bifacial energy generation. The manufacturer said that this technology will reduce the operational temperature of the module and increase its specific energy yield.

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