Today (Oct. 13) First Solar and Clean Energy Collective (CEC) announced a new partnership today under which First Solar will supply Clean Energy Collective with its solar panels for community solar gardens across the U.S. Already the companies have four projects planned using First Solar's thin-film photovoltaic panels.
The partnership is a way to get consumers more familiar with First Solar's equipment, the company has traditionally focused on the utility and commercial-scale solar markets. This opens up a new market for the U.S.-based photovoltaic manufacturer.First Solar panels being installed. Courtesy First Solar"The community solar market promises significant growth, and CEC is clearly well-positioned to lead in this space," said Eran Mahrer, senior director of Business Development, Utilities for First Solar. "First Solar's module supply agreement is a tangible demonstration of our ongoing commitment to this strategic partnership."
The companies began working together last year to identify opportunities to use First Solar's modules in Clean Energy Collective's community solar projects. As such, they are able to take advantage of First Solar's less expensive solar panels which have been better suited for larger installations than rooftops.
"Roofless solar allows the greatest number of consumers to participate in and enjoy the benefits of locally produced clean power," said CEC founder and CEO Paul Spencer. "We are proud to partner with First Solar in using their industry-leading technology, which allows us to provide the most competitive pricing and greatest value to utilities and their customers."
The first four projects that will use First Solar panels under the module supply agreement are in Pueblo and Rifle, CO and Corpus Christi and Sant Antonio in Texas. Each will focus on one of First Solar's technologies to show how the photovoltaic manufacturer and the community solar developer can meet utilities' as well as consumers' needs.
The project in Pueblo will serve customers of Black Hills Energy. It will be fixed tilt array with First Solar panels and equipment. In San Antonio the system will use a single-axis tracking system developed and administered by CEC. The Community solar garden will be open to customers of CPS Energy. In Corpus Christi the project will serve customers of the non-profit NEC Retail (Nueces Electric Cooperative). It will be the first large-scale solar garden in a deregulated market.
The project in Rifle will serve customers of Holy Cross Energy. The First Solar modules being used in the project will feature a special anti-reflective coating (ARC). It's also sort of a homecoming for CEC as it's the company's fourth solar garden utility.