First Solar is expecting to be fully operational next year and has a nameplate capacity of 2.7 GW, so it might produce 2 GW or more. In fact, the company has 2 GW of contracted projects for the upcoming year, plus a number of others that also are expected to be finished during the same period. That adds up to a lot of solar power being manufactured and installed – especially in just one year.
Demand and increasing production line efficiency are contributing to the expected rise in output. The US investment tax credit situation is something that has created an uncertainty and tension. Some people might like to take advantage of it while it is still in place, and others might be balking already, wanting to see what happens in Congress.
(Of course, it should be renewed because it is working, but there are influencers who don’t want solar power to succeed.)
Upgrades to production lines have helped too, “Since the inception of the module end-of-life programme, we have continued to pursue engineering and process improvements to reduce the cost of collecting and recycling the modules. Our continuous improvement efforts have resulted in an automated and continuous flow process, which is significantly lowering the cost of the end-of-life programme,” explained Mark R. Widmar, CFO of First Solar.
Remember Solyndra? It was supposed to have an annual production ranging from 300 to 600 MW. Well, First Solar could blow that amount out of the water in 2016.
If First Solar does achieve such a high rate of production, will the news be blasted repeatedly far and wide like the Solyndra failure was?
Let’s remember that with adequate sunshine, one megawatt of solar power can generate enough electricity to power about 160 homes. Two gigawatts is two thousand megawatts, which is enough for 320,000 homes.
If First Solar achieves this production level in one year, that would be a great accomplishment.
Image Credit: First Solar