First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today released its annual sustainability report which highlights the company’s environmental and safety performance progress, industry-leading utility-scale PV project development practices, and the anticipated sustainability and performance advantages of the company’s next generation Series 6 module technology.
Since 2008, the company has almost halved its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity, surpassing its goal of a 35 percent company-wide reduction by 2016. The decline in emissions intensity was the combined result of an increase in module efficiency, manufacturing throughput and capacity utilization, decreased emissions intensity of purchased grid electricity, along with energy conservation and low carbon initiatives.
Data released as part of First Solar’s 2017 Sustainability Report shows that it has also reduced its manufacturing energy intensity by 30 percent from 2009 to 2016. Notably, although its production volume increased by 24 percent in 2016, First Solar reduced its absolute water withdrawals by 4 percent and saved more than 185 million liters (approximately 49 million gallons) by recycling water at its manufacturing facility in Malaysia.
“Thanks to our thin film technology and efficient manufacturing process, the environmental impact of a First Solar PV system is about two-thirds lower than the average PV system available in the market today.† In fact, our new Series 6 module technology is expected to further increase that gap,” said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s Chief Executive Officer. “In other words, we now deliver high-performance PV modules that can successfully compete against silicon panels, while also delivering the fastest energy payback time and the lowest lifecycle impact in the industry. This is no small achievement.”
Significantly, First Solar has also tracked a 74 percent reduction in manufacturing waste intensity, from 35.1 grams per watt produced in 2009, to 9.1 grams per watt in 2016. Its recycling program – unique to the PV module manufacturing industry – recovers 90 percent of the semiconductor material and glass from decommissioned modules.
“The reduction in our environmental footprint is entirely by design; the result of taking a long-term view on continuously improving our environmental performance while delivering a competitive, reliable, high-quality product,” said Alex Heard, First Solar’s Senior Vice President of Global Technical Services. “Our commitment remains stronger than ever, and we will continue to work to improve our performance, maintaining the benchmark for the rest of the industry.”
First Solar’s 2017 Sustainability Report and its Sustainability Metrics are available at: http://www.firstsolar.com/-/media/First-Solar/Sustainability-Documents/FirstSolar_SustainabilityReport.ashx
† Wyss, Franziska, Frischknecht, Rolf, de Wild-Scholten, Mariska, und Philippe Stolz. “PEF screening report of electricity from photovoltaic panels in the context of the EU Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) Pilots v.2.0”, 24. April 2016.
About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.
For First Solar Investors
This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include statements, among other things, concerning: effects on our financial statements and guidance resulting from certain module manufacturing changes and associated restructuring activities; our business strategy, including anticipated trends and developments in and management plans for our business and the markets in which we operate; future financial results, operating results, revenues, gross margin, operating expenses, products, projected costs (including estimated future module collection and recycling costs), warranties, solar module technology and cost reduction roadmaps, restructuring, product reliability, investments in unconsolidated affiliates and capital expenditures; our ability to continue to reduce the cost per watt of our solar modules; our ability to expand manufacturing capacity worldwide; our ability to reduce the costs to construct PV solar power systems; research and development programs and our ability to improve the conversion efficiency of our solar modules; sales and marketing initiatives; and competition. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as “estimate,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “seek,” “believe,” “forecast,” “foresee,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “goal,” “target,” “might,” “will,” “could,” “predict,” “continue” and the negative or plural of these words and other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and our projections about future events. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements for any reason. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the matters discussed in Item 1A “Risk Factors,” of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.