First Solar and Silicon Ranch will build on their existing supply partnership in a new deal that will see the thin film manufacturer supply 230 MW of modules. First Solar has previously supplied 180 MW of modules to Silicon Ranch, for projects in five southeastern U.S. states.
The supply deal "may" also see Silicon Ranch deploy First Solar balance of systems (BoS) components, such as single-axis tracking, mounting structures, and cabling components. Silicon Ranch has done so on some of its projects in the past.
The Silicon Ranch deal indicates that First Solars appetite for component supply deals may be returning after the company began backing away from the space in 2012/13, preferring instead to focus on developing its own projects. First Solar is currently pursuing module production capacity expansion plans that are to be achieved through throughput and efficiency increases rather than new manufacturing facilities.
"There is deep value in aligning with a trusted, major solar developer, and our previous endeavors with Silicon Ranch have allowed us to jointly benefit from working in a region with exciting growth opportunities," said First Solars Roger Bredder in a statement announcing the deal.
In a statement announcing the deal, First Solar indicated that its CdTe thin film modules are well suited to deployment in hot and humid environments. Silicon Ranch has built a considerable track record of developing projects in the southeast of the U.S. First Solar claims in such climates PV power plants utilizing its modules have an energy density 10% higher than those deploying multicrystalline silicon PV panels.
First Solar has previously supplied Silicon Ranch projects in Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee.
Silicon Ranch said that it is a "long-term owner" of all of its PV projects, and, therefore, places high value on partnering with a module supplier with a long technical track record and robust balance sheet.