First Solar, Inc. FSLR recently sealed a deal with JP Energie Environnement for supplying its series 6 solar modules, which will be installed in France’s Labarde solar power plant. The solar facility, with a generation capacity of 59 megawatt-direct current (MWdc), is set to be Europe’s largest urban solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant.
Why Series 6 Module?
With up to six times lower carbon footprint and 24 times lower water impact than conventional crystalline silicon PV panels on a life cycle basis, First Solar’s series 6 module delivers a superior environmental profile and the lowest carbon solar electricity available. In addition to having the lowest water footprint in the solar industry, First Solar has reduced its manufacturing water intensity per watt produced by 64% since 2009.
Moreover, this new technology possesses the capacity to reduce the number of electrical connections and hardware required for solar system installation. These capabilities must have boosted demand for this solar product as is evident from the latest contract.
Notably, in June 2020, First Solar inked a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with diversified chemical products manufacturer, Dow Inc. DOW. Per the terms of the deal, 75% of solar energy from First Solar’s 200 megawatt-ac (MWac) Horizon solar project, installed with Series 6 modules, will be supplied to Dow’s Texas operations.
Solar Prospects in France
France is rapidly adopting renewable energy as the preferred source of energy for electricity generation. Per a report by Economic Times, in April 2020, France’s ecology minister cleared nearly 300 wind and solar power projects with total installed capacity of about 1.7 gigawatts.
This offers lucrative expansion opportunities to solar players like First Solar in France’s solar market.
Notably, the company already enjoys a solid presence in this nation. With over 1,100MWs installed, First Solar’s advanced module thin film technology forms the backbone of France’s solar fleet. The company’s modules have been deployed across more than400 projects in France, ranging from large-scale ground-mounted plants to commercial and industrial (C&I) projects.
We believe the latest deal with JP Energie will further strengthen First Solar’s growth prospects in the growing solar market of France.
Other Market Players
To make the most of the opportunities in France, other solar players are also expanding their footprint. In June 2020, solar project developer - ReneSola SOL participated in a France-based consortium along with a leading power consulting company and a recognized leader in project crowdfunding. The consortium aims to develop an estimated 30 MW large-scale ground-mounted solar power plant in the town of Aups, situated in south of France.
Another solar player, SunPower SPWR entered into an agreement in December 2019 to sell 93 MW of PV modules for $38.4 million to Total S.A. in France
First Solar’s shares have lost 5.3% in the past year against the industry’s growth of 90.1%.
First Solar currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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