First Solar - Statistics & Facts

The United States-based company, First Solar, was founded in 1990, under Harold McMaster and JD Polk. McMaster first founded Solar Cells, Inc. when he dove into manufacturing low-cost, thin film solar cells on a large scale, and later merged with the Florida Corporation before it was rebranded as First Solar. In 2002, First Solar began to produce commercial products and within a few years, it had become the largest solar manufacturer in the world. First Solar has installed and developed over 1.5 gigawatts of solar power installations around the world, including the Waldpolenz Solar Park in Germany, which would be composed of one of the largest thin-film photovoltaic systems in the world. The United States and China are currently among the two largest renewable energy consumers in the world. First Solar remains one of the more profitable solar energy companies in the world as of today.

First Solar primarily manufactures cadmium telluride-based photovoltaic modules and has created new technologies that have broken several solar efficiency records. The company continues to invest heavily in research and development to further increase the efficiency of the company’s thin film module technologies. Cadmium telluride solar cells are a type of thin-film solar cells which can reach efficiencies between 7 to 13 percent. Other types of solar cells, such as monocrystalline panels, have advantages such as higher efficiency rates but higher costs. The production share of different solar cells has varied over the last decade as technological advancements fluctuate.

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