First Solar Tackles Innovation in Perrysburg, Ohio

I had the pleasure of visiting First Solar (FSLR)’s Perrysburg, Ohio facility alongside colleagues from Longroad Energy Partners. First Solar is by far the most differentiated PV company at scale and is a technology story with a happy ending. Their value – combined with outstanding company execution and performance – has enabled them to build the largest solar factory in the United States and one of the financially strongest global solar companies.

FSLR Perrysburg is scaling from 600 MW to 1.8 GW production and is complete with integrated module recycling. It also hosts the largest and most sophisticated solar R&D, quality and REL labs I have seen.

I first visited the FSLR manufacturing facility at its predecessor (Solar Cells Inc.) in 1991 and met founder Harold McMaster, who dreamed of applying his glass factory expertise to large area thin film PV. McMaster’s vision has been realized with the FSLR Series 6 module, which is currently 420W, compared to 50W in 1991, and features exemplary temperature coefficients, soiling resilience and shadow tolerance.

Building on the balanced design of our award-winning NX Horizon™ self-powered tracker, Nextracker offers a mounting solution specifically optimized for First Solar Series 6™ modules. This technology includes unique mounting features for maximum installation speed and reliability. Download our First Solar Series 6 Module mounting solution sell sheet here. The solution is also covered in PV Tech here.

We are providing trackers for more than 1 GW of First Solar projects using its Series 6 modules in the U.S. alone, including two projects in Texas – 312 MW Phoebe and 379 MW Prospero – and two projects in California –  193 MW Rosamond and 129 MW Willow. A press release on our Series 6 partnerships can be found here and a Greentech Media article on the Prospero project, which marks Facebook’s first direct investment in a wind or solar projects, can be found here. “Facebook will be the sole tax-equity investor for the Prospero project, saying its investment could provide a new model for corporations investigating renewables procurement. Longroad Energy Partners, the Boston-based wind and solar developer behind the Prospero project, will use First Solar panels and trackers from Nextracker. The engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project is California’s Swinerton Renewable Energy. It’s slated for completion in 2020.”

Big thanks to FSLR’s Adam R. Smith, Clarence Hertzfeld, Pat Buehler, Evan Nichols, Alistair Berven and Longroad Energy Partners’s Paul Gaynor and Pete Keel for hosting and attending this visit and congrats to FSLR leadership and 1200 Perrysburg staff for their amazing achievements.

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