First Solar books 2 GW module order from Swift Current Energy

Boston-based Swift Current Energy reached a supply agreement with First Solar for 2 GW of the Arizona-based manufacturer’s thin film solar modules in 2025 and 2026.

Swift Current Energy CEO Eric Lammers said the deal provides the “certainty of supply” needed to execute his company’s growing project pipeline.

“We’re focused on ensuring that our capacity comes online as planned,” he said.

The Factor This! podcast, recorded live from RE+ in Anaheim, analyzed the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act on domestic solar manufacturing. “The race is on to meet demand with made-in-America solar modules” featured Lightsourcebp Americas CEO Kevin Smith, Cypress Creek Renewables VP of Engineering Luke O’Dea, and Qcells North America Head of Market Strategy and Public Affairs Scott Moskowitz. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

This is the second time Swift Current Energy has placed an order of 1 GW or more with First Solar.

Earlier this year, Swift Current Energy placed a 1.2 GW order with First Solar for delivery in 2023 and 2024.

First Solar plans to invest more than $1.2 billion to build a new module manufacturing facility, and increase capacity at its existing operations, in response to credits for U.S. solar manufacturing that were included in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Plans call for an investment of $1 billion in a new, 3.5 GW module factory in the Southeast, while an additional $185 million will be dedicated to adding nearly 1 GW of new manufacturing capacity to the company’s facility in Ohio.

Pending regulatory approvals, First Solar said it expects the new factory to come online in 2025. First Solar expects the investment to create “at least” 850 new manufacturing jobs, bringing the company’s U.S. employment total to more than 3,000 people in four states by 2025.

First Solar said it also intends to expand capacity at its Perrysburg and Lake Township, Ohio facilities by 0.6 GW to 3.6 GW. The company will also expand a third Ohio factory, expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2023, to 3.5 GW.

Taken together, First Solar expects the investments to total over $3 billion with a cumulative annual production capacity of over 7 GW by 2025. The company expects to have over 10 GW of U.S. manufacturing capacity by 2025.

On a July call with investors, First Solar announced it had a “record” bookings backlog of 44.3 GW.

Widmar signaled that “further investments” could be announced in the future, depending on market demand.

Baked into the Inflation Reduction Act are provisions of the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act, which incentivizes U.S. production throughout the solar value chain. The incentives would provide new certainty for domestic solar manufacturers and developers, who seek a ‘Made in America’ product that is difficult to source.

Elements include:

  • 11 cents/watt for integrated modules
  • 7 c/w for non-integrated solar modules
  • 4 c/w for cells
  • $12/sq. m. of wafer
  • $3/kg of polysilicon
  • 40 c/sq. m. of polymeric backsheet

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Author: John Engel