Leeward Renewable Energy and First Solar have entered into an additional multi-year framework supply agreement, through which First Solar will provide LRE with 1 GWdc of its ultra-low carbon thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. LRE will deploy these modules across its 20 GW 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. This latest agreement expands LRE’s order book with First Solar to over 3 GW of modules that are estimated to enable the build of 18 new sites from 2022 – 2024.
“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.”
Designed and developed at its research and development (R&D) centers in California and Ohio, First Solar’s thin film PV 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.
“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 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.
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.
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