Arizona, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] First Solar Inc. announced this week that it has manufactured and shipped more than 1 gigawatt (GW) of its photovoltaic (PV) solar modules in 2009, becoming the first PV company to attain this production volume in a single year.
First Solar has increased its manufacturing capacity from approximately 75 megawatts (MW) per year at the beginning of 2007 to more than 1GW today.
“This proof that the solar industry can achieve the manufacturing scale necessary to fight climate change is especially timely in light of the Copenhagen conference that began last week,” said Bruce Sohn, First Solar’s president. “Our efforts in scaling our technology are critical to creating a more sustainable energy infrastructure and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
First Solar has continually lowered the cost of manufacturing solar modules, breaking the $1 per watt barrier earlier this year. The company announced in February that its solar modules were being produced at US $0.98/watt, breaking the $1 per watt price barrier that the industry has been striving towards in recent years.
First Solar began full commercial operation of its initial manufacturing line in late 2004. From 2004 through today, manufacturing capacity has grown 2,500 percent to more than 500 megawatts in 2008. These escalating volumes have been accompanied by a rapid reduction in manufacturing costs.
From 2004 through today, First Solar’s manufacturing costs have declined two-thirds from over $3/watt to less than $1/watt. First Solar said it is confident that further significant cost reductions are possible based on the yet untapped potential of its technology and manufacturing process.