First Solar

First Solar, Inc. ( NASDAQ: FSLR ) is an international company in the photovoltaic industry with headquarters in the United States. The company makes thin-film solar modules and provides comprehensive photovoltaic system solutions. On April 17, 2012, First Solar announced the closure of individual plants known and announced job cuts. Accordingly, the number of employees will be reduced by one-third world.


First Solar is a provider of photovoltaic systems on an industrial scale and manufacturer of thin film solar modules with production sites in Germany, Malaysia and the USA. Worldwide First Solar, with a production capacity of about 1.5 gigawatts peak ( GWp ) in 2010, the largest manufacturer of solar panels. For 2011, a total annual capacity of 2.27 GWp is sought. In Germany, the company produced since 2007 at its plant in Frankfurt ( Oder), whose capacity was doubled in 2011. First Solar utilizes a technology that generates a semiconductor layer of cadmium telluride ( CdTe) photovoltaic effect by the so-called flow. This technology has indeed in laboratory tests a lower conversion efficiency than silicon solar cells, but it is far more cost effective to produce and use due to a low temperature coefficient in different climates well. Field studies also show that the photovoltaic modules as well, or better work with CdTe technology than photovoltaic modules based on silicon.

First Solar was able to reduce the production costs to below $ 1 per watt than first solar company. The current cost of production (November 2011) are $ 0.74 per watt.

In Germany, the company currently operates primarily in two locations: in Frankfurt ( Oder) is the seat of the production facility of First Solar Manufacturing GmbH, Burghard von Westerholt as manager and plant manager of the local production facility that after the announcement dated April 2012, however, the end of the 2012 has been closed. In Mainz is the seat of the European distribution company First Solar GmbH "significantly " reduced its Managing Director Christopher Burghardt, however, the sales office Mainz is, according to a First Solar spokesman. Together with other locations in Europe fall so once again gone around 150 jobs. At the two sites in Germany, the company currently employs more than 1400 employees.

The First Solar Manufacturing GmbH and First Solar GmbH was awarded in 2011 by the Great Place to Work Institute Germany as one of the best employers in Germany. When choosing particularly employee-oriented company criteria such as credibility, respect, fairness, pride and team spirit will be assessed.

His experience in the field of sustainability in business and sustainability, the company sets a reinforced for other projects. For First Solar gives together with the German Environmental Aid entitled " Climate protection capital ". The aim of this project is to strengthen climate-friendly municipalities in their efforts and to raise awareness of energy efficiency, climate change and clean energy.


First Solar was founded in Tempe, Arizona ( USA) in 1999. The company went from selling Solar Cell, Inc. ( SCI) at True North Partners - a company of the Walton family, which founded Wal-Mart - out. The first commercial use of the CdTe solar modules occurred in 2002. Gradually, the production has been improved and in 2005, First Solar reached for the first time a production capacity of 25 megawatts peak ( MWp). On 17 November 2006, First Solar went to the Nasdaq and has been listed there. In Germany, the company is listed on the XETRA electronic trading platform and on several regional stock exchanges ( Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Berlin, Dusseldorf ). In October 2009, First Solar was recorded as the first solar company in the stock index S & P 500.

Fortune chose First Solar in 2010 among the top ten fastest growing companies worldwide. The German environmental consulting firm Murphy & Spitz chose First Solar in 2010 worldwide at the forefront of sustainable photovoltaic companies.

MIT Technology Review awarded in 2010 and 2011, First Solar as one of the 50 most innovative companies in the world.


The corporate headquarters are located in the USA in Tempe ( Arizona ). The research and development department as well as the original production facility are based in Ohio. First Solar is largely grown through its activities in Germany, as Thomas Friedman 's " What to do in his book. An Agenda for the 21st Century " reported. The company opened in the summer of 2007, the first production facility outside the United States in Frankfurt ( Oder). By extension 2011, production was doubled in these areas to the current annual capacity of 500 MWp - at around 1200 employees. The massive overcapacity and the return of the solar subsidies meant then but the short work of the employees in the German factory and the announcement of the closure of the year. The Vertriebs-GmbH in Mainz will be significantly reduced. Another factory was opened in Malaysia in 2008 and 2009 and expanded in 2010. This work is to be closed in 2012. Overall, First Solar decreed in 2010 over 28 production lines with an annual production capacity of more than 1,500 megawatts. Worldwide, First Solar in 2011 more than 7,000 people.

On 25 October 2011 on, Michael J. Ahearn, Chairman and Founder of First Solar, an interim basis the position as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rob Gillette. 3 May 2012, First Solar announced that James Hughes was appointed as the new CEO. Mike Ahearn will remain Chairman of the Board. Hughes was the Sales Manager for First Solar.

First Solar manufactures solar modules for commercial photovoltaic projects on roofs and open spaces and offers comprehensive system solutions. Since April 2011, First Solar modules are also suitable for use in photovoltaic systems with 10 to 30 kilowatts ( kW ) are available.


As one of the first companies in the industry, First Solar has set up a collection and recycling program for solar modules into life. The program of First Solar was the first in the industry, which is handled entirely financed. Owner of First Solar installations must only inform First Solar and the modules can degrade professionally. First Solar takes care of then free to the removal and recycling. According to First Solar, up to 95 percent of the heavy metal-containing semiconductor material can be recovered in a closed recycling process and are processed into new solar modules. The glass can be recycled up to 90 percent. The program is financed by a contribution which is already included in the sale price of the modules and flows on a purpose- specific investment account. Thus, the disposal of the modules is guaranteed regardless of First Solar in the long term. " The recycling concept looks solid from " Sven Teske also assessed by the Climate & Energy Unit of Greenpeace the program. In addition to the mounted First Solar's recycling process, First Solar and producers of other photovoltaic modules have as part of the Industry Grouping PV CYCLE obliged to set up at European level a collection and recycling system for old. The companies thus face their extended product responsibility and want to ensure that the solar modules are reused from the standpoint of resource efficiency and sustainability.

Projects / References

Solar Park Love Rose

In early 2009, a project developer Juwi started to build a solar park with First Solar panels on a former military training area love Rose near Cottbus. With a size of 163 hectares is the third largest solar park in Germany. The terrain was unused in the nineties since the fall of the Iron Curtain and the subsequent withdrawal of the Soviet army. To date, a reasonable re-use for the land left fallow proved a major challenge, especially since large parts of the former military training area were contaminated by contaminated sites. In addition to the environmental benefits by saving around 35,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide ( CO2) per year during the operational period of the solar park, the redevelopment of the site will be financed through the lease of the land and a share in the revenue stream at the same time. For a total of five million euros are planned. After the completion of the project thus is an area available that can be used for tourism and ecologically again in accordance with the Nature Conservation. The project thus has a two -fold advantage for the Environment: Clean energy production with the help of photovoltaics as well as decontamination and Entmunitionisierung of the site, funded by the energy produced there. The predicted total yield amounts to about 53 million kWh, which is equivalent to the supply of about 15,000 households per year. The solar park was officially opened on 20 August 2009.

Masdar City

In Abu Dhabi, Masdar City will be built with a CO2-neutral science city, which was designed by the British architects Foster Partners. First Solar modules for a solar power plant with a capacity of five MW delivered, which contributes to a sustainable power supply to the new city.

Associated Partner at DESERTEC

On March 16, 2010, First Solar was the first pure photovoltaic manufacturers an Associated Partner of the industrial initiative Desertec, Dii GmbH. The Desertec concept has set itself the goal to provide a significant share of electricity in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe from a network of solar and wind energy by 2050. First Solar brings in its Partnership with the Dii his expertise in the field of large-scale photovoltaic projects in the working groups of the DESERTEC a network.

First Solar's solar modules, due to their very low maintenance and above-average energy yield an ideal complement to other renewable energy technologies of the DESERTEC group. Thanks to a low temperature coefficient of First Solar thin-film technology delivers an exceptionally high energy yield even in desert regions.


2010 First Solar has completed the then world's largest in the use of exploiting dividend solar power plant in the world. With 80 MW ( DC) of the Sarnia solar farm produces in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, clean solar electricity for more than 10,000 families. Here, more than 22,000 tons of carbon dioxide can be saved annually.