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First Solar Module Manufacturing Cost Drops Below $1 Per Watt


Alt Dot Energy
February 25, 2009


Today First Solar, Inc. announced that it had reduced its manufacturing cost for
solar modules to 98 cents per watt, breaking the $1 per watt price barrier for
the first time ever.

The company is the largest manufacturer of thin film solar modules, having
expanded manufacturing capacity to an expected 735 MW in 2008; and with
additional plants under construction, First Solar will bring total expected
capacity to more than 1 GW by the end of 2009.

Mike Ahearn, First Solar chief executive officer said “This achievement marks a
milestone in the solar industry’s evolution toward providing truly sustainable
energy solutions. First Solar is proud to be leading the way toward clean,
affordable solar electricity as a viable alternative to fossil fuels.”

First Solar began full commercial operation of its initial manufacturing line in
late 2004. From 2004 through today, First Solar’s manufacturing costs have
declined two-thirds from over $3 per watt to less than $1 per watt. is
confident says it is confident that further significant cost reductions are
possible based on the yet untapped potential of its technology and manufacturing process.

Ahearn expressed thanks to governments in Germany and other countries for making
today’s milestone possible. “Without forward-looking government programs
supporting solar electricity, we would not have been able to invest in the
capacity expansion which gives us the scale to bring costs down,” he said.

“First Solar’s ongoing focus on cost reduction enables continued growth even as
subsidies decline. In the meantime, those initial investments are paying off in
a cleaner environment and in the creation of thousands of jobs with a clear future.”

“This represents a major milestone for the solar industry,” said Ken Zweibel, an
industry veteran currently serving as Director of the Institute for the Analysis
of Solar Energy at The George Washington University and former Program Leader
for the Thin Film Partnership Program at the National Renewable Energy
Laboratory in Golden, Colo. “In order to address climate change in a meaningful
way, we need energy technologies that are affordable, scalable and have a low
environmental impact on a life-cycle basis.

 

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