First Solar signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with chemical company Dow for its Gulf Coast operations. Dow’s Texas Operations is the largest petrochemical site in the western hemisphere.
Under the agreement, First Solar will supply Dow with renewable energy from 75% of its 200-MWac Horizon Solar project in Frio County, Texas. The project will use First Solar’s Series 6 PV modules, designed and developed at the company’s research and development centers in California and Ohio.
The Series 6 modules that will power the project use technologies like ENGAGE PV Polyolefin Elastomers by Dow, which are used as encapsulant films to enhance the module’s performance and efficiency.
“Dow and First Solar share a common vision for a more sustainable planet and a long history of partnership,” said Edward Stones, Dow’s global business director for Energy and Climate Change. “Multiple raw materials, components and derivative products produced by Dow contribute to the reliability and sustainability of First Solar’s module technology, including ENGAGE PV polyolefin elastomers. Now we are putting that technology to work in helping to power our operations in Texas and to reach Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goal of obtaining 750 MW of our power demand from renewable sources.”
The modules are projected to have six times lower carbon footprint and 24 times lower water impact than conventional crystalline silicon PV panels on a life cycle basis. First Solar has reduced its manufacturing water intensity per watt produced by 64% since 2009. One of the ways First Solar saves water is by recycling rejected water from a purification system back into a raw water tank. This has helped the company save more than 400 million liters of water since 2018, which is equivalent to 160 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
“With 123 years of history and a range of products that touches virtually every aspect of our lives, Dow helps define the image of American innovation on the world stage. As America’s solar company, we’re proud to support Dow’s renewable energy objectives with technology designed and developed in the United States,” said Karl Brutsaert, senior director, Corporate Renewables, First Solar. “Dow reinforces its longstanding commitment to sustainability by sourcing energy produced by the PV technology with the lowest carbon and water footprints available today. Importantly, the agreement also enables the addition of resilient, reliable solar capacity to our nation’s electricity grid.”
The portion of the solar facility covered by the PPA will generate enough electricity to power up to 25,000 average Texas homes. The project will create approximately 350 jobs at the peak of construction and is also expected to bring benefits to local businesses.
First Solar recently expanded its manufacturing capacity to meet the increasing demand for Series 6 modules, starting production at its new module manufacturing facility in Lake Township, Ohio, in October 2019. The company recently marked two decades since its founding in 1999, and 25 GWdc of PV modules shipped.
News item from First Solar