28 April 2023
Leeward orders 2GW of First Solar modules, taking fleet to almost 6GWDC by 2028
First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has announced an agreement to supply 2GWDC of its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules, for delivery in 2026 and 2027, to Leeward Renewable Energy (LRE) of Dallas, TX, USA (which owns and operates a portfolio of 25 renewable energy facilities across nine states totaling about 2700MW of generating capacity).
This agreement builds on LRE’s existing relationship with First Solar as a major buyer and operator of the firm’s solar technology. This latest agreement is expected to take LRE’s total fleet of First Solar modules to almost 6GWDC by 2028.
“We look forward to expanding our long-standing partnership with First Solar, which is consistent with our high-growth strategy as we continue to expand our renewable energy portfolio in the USA, prioritizing sustainable and responsible development,” says LRE’s CEO Jason Allen. “Through this partnership, LRE’s solar portfolio champions US manufacturing, fortifying the US solar module supply chain and supporting the creation of new American jobs,” he adds.
Designed and developed at its R&D centers in California and Ohio, First Solar’s PV modules are claimed to set industry benchmarks for quality, durability, reliability, design and environmental performance. First Solar claims that its modules have the lowest carbon and water footprint of any commercially available PV technology today.
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 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. First Solar is also the first PV manufacturer to have its product included in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) global registry for sustainable electronics.
“Leeward Renewable Energy has expanded on its commitment not just to First Solar but to responsibly produced solar technology developed here in the United States,” says First Solar’s chief commercial officer Georges Antoun. “In partnering with First Solar, LRE is part of a group of sophisticated solar project developers that have recognized the value of strategic procurement, which optimizes the competitiveness of solar projects while minimizing pricing, supply and compliance risk.”
First Solar is expanding its US manufacturing footprint, from about 6GW of annual nameplate capacity (in three operating factories in Ohio) to more than 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 up to $370m in a new R&D innovation center in Ohio.