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The US’s largest solar panel maker just got a huge domestic order

US utility-scale solar developer Lightsource bp has placed an order with First Solar, the largest solar panel maker in the US, for 4 gigawatts (GW) of advanced thin film solar modules.

The thin film solar modules are scheduled to be delivered between 2026 and 2028, and will power Lightsource bp projects in the US. The deal includes orders for First Solar’s Series 6 Plus and next-gen Series 7 modules.

For perspective, 4 GW of solar modules would be enough to power around 800,000 homes in the US, assuming an average annual electricity consumption of 5,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per household.

Lightsource bp placed a previous order for up to 4.3 GW of solar modules in 2021, so today’s announcement puts the San Francisco-headquartered company in the running to be one of First Solar’s biggest clients.

Kevin Smith, chief executive officer, Americas, Lightsource bp, said:

The US solar industry is at a pivotal moment, poised to expand at an exponential rate with the Inflation Reduction Act serving as the catalyst.

We are seizing the opportunity by not just growing our 20 GW development pipeline across the United States, but also creating sizeable demand for our US-based partner First Solar, which, in turn, is investing in innovation and manufacturing, and supporting thousands of direct and indirect American jobs.

First Solar is unique among the world’s 10 largest solar manufacturers for being the only US-headquartered company and only manufacturer of thin film PV modules.

The Tempe, Arizona-headquartered company uses cadmium telluride (CdTe) PV technology. Its ongoing investment in developing cadmium telluride since 1999 has made it the second most common PV technology in the world after crystalline silicon. CdTe solar cells are known for their high efficiency and low cost.

First Solar’s third factory is expected to come online in Ohio in the first half of 2023, and it has a fourth factory in Alabama that’s under construction and expected to be operating by 2025.

Read more: One of the US’s first solar peaker plants – with Tesla Megapack – just broke ground

Photo: First Solar

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.