Deal for Advanced First Solar Thin Film Modules Secures LRE’s Planned Build Portfolio Through 2024
TEMPE, Ariz. & DALLAS – (BUSINESS WIRE) – Leeward Renewable Energy (“LRE”) and First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) today announced that they have entered into an additional multi-year framework supply agreement, through which First Solar will provide LRE with 1 gigawatt (GW)DC of advanced, ultra-low carbon thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. LRE will deploy these modules across its 20GW solar development and construction pipeline in the U.S. over 2023 and 2024.
This agreement builds on a long, productive relationship between LRE and First Solar that is advancing decarbonization through the use of clean solar energy. This latest agreement expands LRE’s order book with First Solar to over 3GW of modules that are estimated to enable the build of 18 new sites from 2022 – 2024. Designed and developed at its research and development (R&D) centers in California and Ohio, First Solar’s responsibly produced advanced thin film PV modules set industry benchmarks for quality, durability, reliability, design, and environmental performance. The modules have a carbon footprint that is 2.5 times lower and a water footprint that is three times lower than the average crystalline silicon solar panel made with cells produced in China.
“We are pleased to build on our strong relationship with First Solar and support the expansion of domestic solar manufacturing,” said Eran Mahrer, Chief Strategy Officer at LRE. “This agreement creates significant growth opportunities bringing stability, predictability and diminished risk from geopolitical tensions to our solar module supply chain, and by extension to our finance, construction, and offtake partners. We look forward to working closely with First Solar and other U.S.-based component manufacturers as we aggressively expand our solar portfolio.”
“Sophisticated project developers such as LRE are looking to secure their development portfolios by partnering with a module supply partner that offers a reliable, clean energy solution with a long-term agreement structure,” said Georges Antoun, chief commercial officer at First Solar. “First Solar is able to meet this need by delivering a competitive, high-quality, responsibly produced solar module. We are delighted LRE recognizes the value in our eco-efficient solar modules that are advancing the fight against climate change, and we look forward to playing a role in growing their solar platform.”
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. First Solar has invested over $2 billion in its US manufacturing footprint and, when its third factory is fully operational, will directly employ over 2,500 people in Ohio, while supporting an estimated 7,000 indirect jobs through its American supply chain.
In addition to its Ohio manufacturing facilities, First Solar also operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia, and is building a new 3.3 GW factory in India that is expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2023. With First Solar’s expansion in the United States and India and optimization of its existing fleet, the company anticipates that its nameplate manufacturing capacity will double to 16 GW in 2024. First Solar is the only U.S.-headquartered company among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers.
About Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC
Leeward Renewable Energy is a leading renewable energy company that owns and operates a portfolio of 22 renewable energy facilities across nine states totaling approximately 2,000 megawatts of generating capacity. LRE is actively developing and contracting new wind, solar, and energy storage projects in energy markets across the U.S., with 1.9 gigawatts contracted and 20 gigawatts under development and construction spanning over 100 projects. LRE is a portfolio company of OMERS Infrastructure, an investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans with C$121 billion in net assets (as at December 31, 2021). For more information, visit www.leewardenergy.com.
About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar is a leading American solar technology company and global provider of responsibly produced eco-efficient solar modules advancing the fight against climate change. Developed at R&D labs in California and Ohio, the company’s advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules represent the next generation of solar technologies, providing a competitive, high-performance, lower-carbon alternative to conventional crystalline silicon PV panels. From raw material sourcing and manufacturing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s approach to technology embodies sustainability and a responsibility towards people and the planet. For more information, please visit www.firstsolar.com.
For First Solar Investors
This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning (1) an order for 1 GWDC of solar modules for Leeward Renewable Energy; (2) First Solar’s plans to establish new factories in the United States and India and the expected capacities of those factories; and (3) when those factories are expected to be commissioned and First Solar’s resulting Northwest Ohio and global manufacturing capacity. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as “estimate,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “seek,” “believe,” “forecast,” “foresee,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “goal,” “target,” “might,” “will,” “could,” “predict,” “continue” and the negative or plural of these words and other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and our projections about future events and therefore speak only as of the date of this release. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements for any reason, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the matters discussed under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and our subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, as supplemented by our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Kelly Kimberly/Liz James
Sard Verbinnen & Co.
For First Solar
First Solar Media