Solar power is growing in more places across the U.S., including the southeast in places like Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. A newly strengthened partnership between First Solar and Silicon Ranch, which operates primarily in the region, is a great example of that. The companies entered an agreement for 231.6 megawatts of First Solar's solar panels for projects being constructed in 2017 and early 2018.
Silicon Ranch has built some of the iconic solar farms in the region, like the Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar farm in Tennessee. First Solar has built some of the world’s largest solar projects and systems in the world.
"First Solar is pleased to strengthen our relationship with Silicon Ranch through this deal," said Roger Bredder, First Solar's vice president of U.S. Business Development. "There is deep value in aligning with a trusted, major solar developer, and our previous endeavors with Silicon Ranch have allowed us to jointly benefit from working in a region with exciting growth opportunities.”
The companies have already partnered on projects that are using more than 180 megawatts of First Solar’s panels. Those projects, which are in Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee, were and are being commissioned in 2015 and 2016.
First Solar said its thin-film solar panels are particularly suited to hot, humid climates like those in most of Silicon Ranch's project footprint. “When taking into account conversion efficiency, temperature coefficient, spectral response and shadow tolerance, First Solar technology provides an energy density of more than 10 percent over mc-Si products in this region,” the company said. “That means that, given the same land area with an equivalent module ground cover ratio, First Solar's modules will produce more annual energy from the same land area than mc-Si.”
"As long-term owners of all our projects, Silicon Ranch recognizes the importance of quality and performance in every choice we make," said Pete Candelaria, Silicon Ranch's chief technology officer. "First Solar is a U.S. manufacturer with superior products and a strong balance sheet, all of which were important factors in our selection."Tweet