General Electric (GE) and First Solar have formed a technology partnership to advance thin-film solar cells and modules. First Solar has acquired GE's global cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar intellectual property portfolio. In exchange, GE received 1.75 million shares of First Solar common stock. GE has agreed to retain the shares for at least three years.
The two companies plan to work together to improve CdTe solar module performance and efficiency at a manufacturing scale. In addition, GE Global Research and First Solar will collaborate on future technology development to further advance CdTe solar technology.
First Solar says its existing manufacturing sites will be used to further advance CdTe technology. GE has decided to cancel construction of its Aurora, Colo., solar panel manufacturing facility. The company had postponed the project in July 2012.
GE and First Solar have also formed a commercial relationship around solar inverter technology. First Solar says it will continue to purchase inverters from GE Energy Management for use in its global solar deployments.
‘The addition of GE's PV thin-film technology and R&D resources will advance our technology roadmap, while realizing cost reduction in our manufacturing process," says First Solar CEO Jim Hughes.
King & Spalding LLP and Arnold & Porter LLP represented GE on the transaction, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP represented First Solar.