First Solar is continuing to expand into community solar power with 121 megawatts of newly announced community solar projects with M+W Energy and other companies. The company is best known, perhaps, for its giant solar farms is increasing its presence in the community solar market, which is one of the fastest growing sectors of the distributed solar industry.
Community solar power is an attractive market for utilities and consumers because it gives both something they want. It gives utility customers a chance to get solar power even when they can’t put it on their own rooftop or can’t afford a whole system. It also gives utilities a way to support their customers’ wants while allowing them more control for project siting and project design.
The new projects and size of this new portfolio suggest First Solar’s approach to community solar echoes it’s approach to utility-scale solar power. “This scale of community solar implementation is extraordinary, and suggests the enormous potential for this market segment," said Georges Antoun, First Solar's Chief Commercial Officer. "Small one-off installations cannot match the economies of scale realized by utility-scale portfolios that minimize development costs, transaction costs and building costs, while bringing end consumers the freedom to choose solar energy."
The newly announced bookings of projects, 41 megawatts of which are already being built by M+W Energy, build on First Solar’s entry into the community solar market last year. Last October the company announced that it partnered with Clean Energy Collective (CEC) on four projects that would use First Solar's thin-film photovoltaic panels.
First Solar did not disclose where the projects will be or who is purchasing them. Regarding the M+W portfolio of projects it said the company is constructing several small, closely sited solar projects. Regarding the bulk of the projects First Solar said that many are still in development and have not not yet been publicly announced. However, many of those additional facilities should break ground by the end 2016.Tweet