First Solar today announced a commitment to power 100% of its global solar PV manufacturing operations with renewable energy by 2028. As part of an interim goal, the company has pledged to transition its facilities in the United States to carbon-free electricity by 2026.
The commitments, which cover the company’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, were announced as First Solar joined RE100, a global, collaborative initiative bringing together influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power. RE100 is led by international nonprofit the Climate Group in partnership with CDP.
“Making a credible commitment to go 100% renewable is not a decision we take lightly. It was essential for us to ensure that the promise that we make today is one that we can keep,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “With this pledge, we will further lower our embodied carbon footprint, already the lowest in the industry, and move toward realizing the full promise of cleaner solar. We recognize that the solar manufacturing industry has a collective responsibility to set challenging decarbonization goals for itself, and we hope that our decision encourages other PV manufacturers to make their own commitments.”
First Solar celebrated two decades since its founding in 1999 and has shipped over 25 GWDC of PV modules to over 45 countries. With facilities in the United States (Ohio), Malaysia, and Vietnam, First Solar exited 2019 with a total global annualized manufacturing capacity of 5.5 GWDC. It is also the Western Hemisphere’s largest solar manufacturer, with a 1.9-GWDC manufacturing footprint in Ohio.
“By relying on long-term, fixed-price renewable energy, we’re not only investing in reducing our exposure to energy price volatility, but we’re also investing in a sustainable energy future,” said Mike Koralewski, chief manufacturing operations officer, First Solar. “As part of our strategy, we will strive to support the delivery of additional renewable energy capacity, especially in emerging corporate renewables markets in Malaysia and Vietnam.”
First Solar’s thin film PV module technology, designed and developed at the company’s R&D centers in California and Ohio, has a carbon footprint that is up to six-times lower than crystalline silicon PV panels manufactured using conventional, energy-intensive production methods. Its modules already deliver the lowest carbon solar electricity available today, and the company anticipates that the carbon footprint of its modules will decrease by an additional 40% by 2028.
“We’re glad to see First Solar leverage its extensive experience in enabling corporate renewables to decarbonize its own operations,” said Sam Kimmins, the head of RE100, the Climate Group. “Today’s RE100 pledge is the natural evolution of its commitment to sustainability and carbon-efficient manufacturing. We urge others in the solar manufacturing industry to follow suit and commit to 100% renewable electricity”
News item from First Solar