US renewables developer Swift Current Energy has placed a new gigascale order for PV panels from manufacturer First Solar as it gears up plans to build over 9GW of clean energy plant across North America.
Under the deal, Swift Current second this year, First Solar will deliver 2GW of its thin-film modules during 2025-2026. The purchase is the second of the year following a 1.27GW order, which will start delivery in 2023.
Swift Current has so far brought on line over 1GW of renewable energy projects, including utility-scale solar and windand battery storage projects.
“With the US rapidly advancing its energy infrastructure, our project pipeline is growing and we’re focused on ensuring that our capacity comes online as planned,” said Swift Current CEO Eric Lammers.
“Against this backdrop, it’s crucial that we work with partners like First Solar that will deliver not only high quality, responsibly-made products, but also certainty of supply.”
Designed and developed at First Solar R&D centres in California and Ohio, the advanced cadmium telluride-based photovoltaic modules are produced using a vapour deposition process that is designed to improve the perfomance of the technology, with the company targetting 25% cell efficiency by 2025 and 28% by 2030.
“As America’s energy transition gathers pace, it must be underpinned by supply chains that are reliable and robust,” said Georges Antoun, CCO of First Solar, noting that it is expanding its manufacturing capacity to include a new factory in Ohio as part of an overall $4bn investment aimed at reaching 10GW of fabrication line by 2025.
The US in 2021 installed 23.6GW of solar capacity, a 19% increase over 2020, according to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a national trade group based in Washington, DC. Distributed and utility solar combined to supply 4% of the nation’s electricity. Roughly 80% of those installations used imported panels.
The Department of Energy’s Solar Futures Study last fall suggested PV’s share of electricity could increases to at least 37% by 2035 and 44% by mid-century under certain scenarios.
SEIA claims the incentives outlined in the US climate law – which provide generous federal tax breaks for utility solar development and sectotr supply chain expansion – will lure enough fresh investment to ensure the industry can meet its goal of 50GW of domestic manufacturing capacity by 2030.