First Solar, Inc. today announced that it had signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Dow, Inc. for its Gulf Coast operations. First Solar had previously disclosed the execution of the PPA without identifying the offtaker.
Under the agreement, First Solar will supply Dow with renewable energy from 75 percent of its 200-megawatt (MW)AC Horizon Solar project in Frio County, Texas. The project will utilize First Solar's high-performance, eco-efficient Series 6 photovoltaic (PV) modules, designed and developed at the Company's research and development (R&D) centers in California and Ohio. The Series 6 modules that will power the project utilize a range of advanced technologies, including ENGAGE™ PV Polyolefin Elastomers by Dow, which are used as encapsulant films to enhance the module's performance and efficiency.
"Dow and First Solar share a common vision for a more sustainable planet and a long history of partnership," said Edward Stones, Dow's global business director for Energy and Climate Change. "Multiple raw materials, components, and derivative products produced by Dow contribute to the reliability and sustainability of First Solar's module technology, including ENGAGE PV polyolefin elastomers. Now we are putting that technology to work in helping to power our operations in Texas and to reach Dow's 2025 Sustainability Goal of obtaining 750 megawatts of our power demand from renewable sources."
With up to six times lower carbon footprint and 24 times lower water impact than conventional crystalline silicon PV panels on a life cycle basis, the module delivers a superior environmental profile and the lowest carbon solar electricity available. In addition to having the lowest water footprint in the solar industry, First Solar has reduced its manufacturing water intensity per watt produced by 64 percent since 2009. One of the ways First Solar saves water is by recycling rejected water from a purification system back into a raw water tank. This has helped the company save more than 400 million liters of water since 2018, which is equivalent to 160 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
"With 123 years of history and a range of products that touches virtually every aspect of our lives, Dow helps define the image of American innovation on the world stage. As America's solar company, we're proud to support Dow's renewable energy objectives with technology designed and developed in the United States," said Karl Brutsaert, senior director, Corporate Renewables, First Solar. "Dow reinforces its longstanding commitment to sustainability by sourcing energy produced by the PV technology with the lowest carbon and water footprints available today. Importantly, the agreement also enables the addition of resilient, reliable solar capacity to our nation's electricity grid."
The portion of the solar facility covered by the PPA will generate enough electricity to power up to 25,000 average Texas homes, while displacing 147,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, equivalent to planting 2.4 million trees per year. The project will create approximately 350 jobs at the peak of construction and is also expected to bring benefits to local businesses.
First Solar recently expanded its manufacturing capacity to meet the increasing demand for Series 6 modules, starting production at its new module manufacturing facility in Lake Township, Ohio, in October 2019. The Company recently celebrated two decades since its founding in 1999, and 25GWDC of PV modules shipped.