First Solar secures 5.4GW module supply deal with Lightsource bp and bp

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The 163MW Elm Branch project (pictured) in Texas was developed by Lightsource bp and features First Solar’s Series 6 modules. Image: Lightsource bp.

First Solar is to provide PV project developer Lightsource bp and energy major bp with up to 5.4GW of its thin film modules as part of the manufacturer’s largest supply order to date.

Lightsource bp and bp have placed firm orders for approximately 4.4GWdc of modules, with options for an additional 1GW, as the companies plan solar deployments in US states including Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

They will benefit from the evolution of First Solar’s cadmium telluride (CadTel) thin film module technology platform over the span of the multi-year agreement, which will see Lightsource bp procure up to 4.3GWdc of modules for its US utility-scale projects and bp source up to 1.1GWdc to power its plants being developed by Lightsource bp.

Under the agreement, First Solar has firm orders for 1.55GWdc of modules in 2023, 1.3GWdc in 2024 and 1.55GWdc in 2025.

The transaction follows bp earlier this year acquiring 9GW of solar assets across 12 US states that will be developed by Lightsource bp – a joint venture that it owns a 50% stake in – as the energy major looks to have a 50GW renewables portfolio by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050.

For Lightsource, the module supply deal comes after the developer recently raised its solar deployment target to 25GW by 2025 after securing a US$1.8 billion financing facility.

Kevin Smith, CEO Americas at Lightsource bp, said executing procurement agreements with suppliers such as First Solar will enable the company to deliver on its growth plans and reach that 25GW target, adding: “It also translates into competitively priced electricity for our customers.”

Alongside the module supply, First Solar has signed a memorandum of understanding to explore opportunities to source electricity from Lightsource bp assets in Ohio, where the manufacturer currently has two production plants, as part of efforts to power 100% of its global manufacturing operations with renewable energy by 2028.

A third First Solar manufacturing plant in Ohio, announced in June and due to begin commercial operations in 2023, will take the company’s US manufacturing footprint up to 6GW. The firm’s US manufacturing operations could receive significant policy support through legislation passed by the House of Representatives last week.

In addition to its existing factories in Vietnam and Malaysia, First Solar is planning to boost its overseas manufacturing operations with a 3.3GWdc module assembly facility in India.

After seeing a jump in module demand during Q3, the company is now exploring future capacity manufacturing locations as it bids to reach 16GW of nameplate manufacturing capacity by 2024.

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