First Solar Inc., a global provider of comprehensive solar PV systems, is transitioning away from its internal engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model in the U.S. and moving toward third-party EPC partners.
The transition to will occur throughout the rest of 2019 and will not impact any projects under construction and slated for delivery this year, the company says.
First Solar is expanding its manufacturing capacity to meet the demand for Series 6 modules, with its second facility in the U.S. – representing nearly $1 billion in cumulative investment – expected to start production in early 2020. Once operational, the new facility in Perrysburg, Ohio, will take the company’s aggregate Series 6 manufacturing capacity to 5.4 GW per year, making First Solar America’s largest solar manufacturer, the company claims.
“This transition, which mirrors the technology shift to the large-format Series 6 module, marks the natural evolution of our long-term growth strategy. While self-performed EPC was necessary to optimize our earlier-generation modules, the seamless compatibility of Series 6 with industry systems and processes now allows us to leverage a much broader external ecosystem of knowledge and expertise,” says Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar.
“We expect that this shift will allow us to concentrate on our core business of scaling, developing and selling our world-class module technology while executing on our project development pipeline with the same level of service that our customers have come to expect,” Widmar adds.
The transition will impact approximately 100 associates, who will be separated from the company at various stages of the process and will be provided with compensatory and outplacement support, says First Solar.