First Solar, Inc. and EDP Renewables announced a multi-year order for 1.8 gigawatts (GWdc) of First Solar’s advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. The modules, which will be delivered up to 2028, will power US projects developed by EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA).
EDP Renewables is a leading global pure renewable energy company that operates in 28 markets around the globe. North America is the company’s biggest market in terms of installed capacity and production, where the company currently operates 475 MW of solar projects, has 1.6 GW of solar capacity under construction, and has a robust solar development pipeline across the continent. In addition, EDPR operates more than 200 distributed generation solar sites throughout North America. Including both utility-scale and distributed generation, EDPR plans to add 4.8 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity in North America in 2023-2026.
“EDP Renewables’ ambitious business plan calls for more than 4 GW of renewable capacity annually through 2026 with nearly half of the new clean energy generation to come from North America,” said Sandhya Ganapathy, chief executive officer, EDPR NA. “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 and lead the energy transition.”
First Solar’s responsibly produced advanced thin film PV modules set industry benchmarks for quality, durability, reliability, design, and environmental performance. It 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 has zero tolerance for forced labor in its manufacturing or its supply chains. First Solar’s modules have the lowest carbon and water footprint of any commercially available PV module today and the company 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,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “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. This validates the value that our customers place in our differentiation, not just in technology but our way of doing business.”
With this strategic agreement, EDPR de-risks its solar pipeline in the US 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 US, while also pursuing its strategy of supply chain and technology diversification. The partnership between both companies started in 2019, when EDPR acquired a 50% stake in a 278 MW solar portfolio developed by First Solar.
First Solar is expanding its US manufacturing footprint, which currently stands at more than 5 GW of annual nameplate capacity with three operating factories in Ohio. The company is expected to reach more than 10 GW by 2025, when it completes its new $1.1 billion factory in Alabama and a $185 million expansion of its existing capacity in Ohio. First Solar is also investing $270 million in a new research and development innovation center in Ohio. Additionally, First Solar is expected to commission its first factory in India in the second half of 2023, adding 3.4 GW of new nameplate annual capacity. The company expects to have more than 20 GW of annual global nameplate manufacturing capacity by 2025.