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Silicon Ranch and First Solar Expand Partnership with 4 GW Supply Agreement

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First Solar, Inc. has signed a master supply agreement (MSA) to supply 4 gigawatts of thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules to Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent power producers. 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.  
Silicon Ranch and First Solar Expand Partnership with 4 GW Supply Agreement
Courtesy of First Solar

This significant agreement represents the latest milestone in the relationship between two best‐in‐class solar businesses, advancing the US energy transition while supporting American solar manufacturing growth. The growing strategic 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. The partnership between these industry leaders has grown substantially across the US since then, with over 30 projects totaling more than 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,” said Reagan Farr, co‐founder and chief executive officer, 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 US manufacturing capabilities. 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.” 

Designed and developed at its research and development (R&D) centers in California and Ohio, First Solar’s responsibly produced advanced thin film PV modules set industry benchmarks for quality, durability, reliability, design, and environmental performance. 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 percent of CadTel material which can be used to manufacture new modules, as well as other materials including aluminum, glass, and laminates. Additionally, the recycled glass can be converted into useful glass products for beneficial use, while laminates can be processed into rubber products including shoe soles and bicycle handles. First Solar currently operates commercial recycling facilities in the US, Germany, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

“Since the beginning of our relationship, it has been clear that Silicon Ranch recognizes the value of taking a longterm view on procuring solar technology,” said Georges Antoun, chief commercial officer, 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. First Solar is pleased to strengthen our relationship with Silicon Ranch through this agreement.”     

First Solar is investing $680 million in expanding America’s domestic PV solar manufacturing capacity by 3.3 GW annually, by building its third US manufacturing facility, in Lake Township, Ohio. The new facility is expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2023 and when fully operational will scale the company’s Northwest Ohio footprint to a total annual capacity of 6 GW, which is believed to make it the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing complex outside of China. First Solar has invested over $2 billion in its US manufacturing footprint and, when its third factory is fully operational, will directly employ over 2,000 people in Ohio, while supporting an estimated 7,000 indirect jobs through its American supply chain.

In addition to its Ohio manufacturing facilities, First Solar also operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia, and is building a new 3.3 GW factory in India that is expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2023. With First Solar’s expansion in the United States and India and optimization of its existing fleet, the company anticipates that its nameplate manufacturing capacity will double to 16 GW in 2024. First Solar is the only US‐headquartered company among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers. 

Nashville‐based Silicon Ranch pioneered utility‐scale solar in the Southeast with the first large‐scale solar projects in Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Kentucky. The company has successfully commissioned every project it has contracted since its inception and has further distinguished itself through its commitment to own and operate each project in its portfolio for the long term. Today Silicon Ranch owns, operates, and maintains more than 150 solar generating facilities in 15 states from New York to California. Earlier this year, Silicon Ranch completed a $775 million equity raise led by Manulife Investment Management.

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