The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has secured 279 MWdc of advanced thin film solar panels from First Solar for its Lawrence County Solar Project in Lawrence County, Alabama, which is expected to commence commercial operation in 2027.
The project reflects TVA’s growing emphasis on solar in the region, which by 2025 is also expected to become the home of one of the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing facilities in the United States, when Arizona-headquartered First Solar commissions its fourth U.S. factory.
“TVA remains committed to investing in the energy system of the future for the benefit of the people of the Tennessee Valley that we serve and are pleased to work with First Solar,” said Roger Waldrep, VP of major projects for the TVA. “Through our work with First Solar, TVA will continue to integrate more renewable generation into our overall portfolio with solar technology developed and manufactured in America.”
First Solar is investing approximately $1.3 billion in expanding its U.S. manufacturing footprint from more than 6.5 GWdc of annual nameplate capacity currently, to approximately 10.9 GWdc by 2026. In addition to the $1.1 billion being invested in the new 3.5 GWdc Lawrence County facility, the company has also embarked on a $185 million expansion of its existing manufacturing footprint in Ohio. The company also announced an investment of up to $370 million for a dedicated research and development innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, which is expected to be completed in 2024.
Designed and developed at its R&D centers in California and Ohio, First Solar’s advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules set industry benchmarks for quality, durability, reliability, design and environmental performance.
First Solar’s differentiated thin film semiconductor, integrated manufacturing process and tightly controlled supply chain helps eliminate the risk of exposure to solar supply chains identified by the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2022 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor as being tainted by forced labor. First Solar is the only company among the ten largest solar manufacturers globally that is a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), the world’s largest industry coalition dedicated to supporting the rights and well-being of workers and communities in the global supply chain. The company is also the first PV manufacturer to have its product included in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) global registry for sustainable electronics.
TVA is a corporate agency of the United States, receiving no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation, and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.
— Solar Builder magazine