First Solar Inc. has entered into a master supply agreement (MSA), to supply 4 GW DC with advanced, responsibly produced thin-film photovoltaic (PV), solar modules to Silicon Ranch. The deal, one of First Solar’s largest, will see Silicon Ranch’s projects in the United States receive modules from 2023 to 2025. Silicon Ranch will benefit from the evolution of First Solar’s advanced Cadmium Telluride (CadTel) thin film module technology platform over the span of the agreement.
The companies’ partnership began in 2015 when Silicon Ranch contracted with First Solar to supply the modules for its Aerojet Rocketdyne Solar Farm in Arkansas, the state’s first utility-scale solar project. Since then, the partnership has seen a significant increase in U.S. participation with more than 30 projects totaling over 1 GW.
“Silicon Ranch’s business model of long-term asset ownership demands that we emphasize best-in-class strategic partners and requires us to consider the future in every action we take, from the modules we buy all the way through to how we manage the land we occupy,” says Reagan Farr, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Ranch. “Our customers care about the carbon impact of their procurement choices, and so do we at Silicon Ranch.”
“We are already proving that we can sequester carbon on our sites through our regenerative energy model of land management, and this partnership with First Solar enables us to improve the carbon footprint of our module supply, while also supporting additional investment in U.S. manufacturing capabilities,” adds Farr. “We have grown our business at Silicon Ranch through our faith in the power of collaborative partnerships, and we are thrilled to expand our relationship with First Solar as we accelerate our growth strategy across the country.”
Under the agreement, end-of-life CadTel modules from Silicon Ranch projects can be processed by First Solar’s advanced high value recycling program, which recovers approximately 90% of CadTel material which can be used to manufacture new modules, as well as other materials including aluminum, glass and laminates. The glass can also be recycled into useful products such as glass for medical purposes, and laminates can make rubber products like shoe soles and handles for bicycles. First Solar currently operates commercial recycling plants in the U.S.A., Germany and Malaysia.
“Since the beginning of our relationship, it has been clear that Silicon Ranch recognizes the value of taking a long-term view on procuring solar technology,” states Georges Antoun, chief commercial officer at First Solar. “Long-term module supply agreements with a trusted partner provide a vital hedge against the pricing and supply uncertainties that have impacted the solar industry over the past few years. And with First Solar’s agile contracting strategy, Silicon Ranch will have the added benefit of access to our best-in-class PV technologies as they continue to evolve.”