First Solar Inc. announced on Dec. 15 it has manufactured and shipped more than 1 gigawatt (GW) of its photovoltaic (PV) solar modules in 2009, becoming the first PV company to attain this production volume in a single year.
One gigawatt of solar modules produces enough electricity to serve the needs of approximately 145,000 average American homes and saves roughly 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The Tempe, Ariz-based company has increased its manufacturing capacity from approximately 75 megawatts (MW) per year at the beginning of 2007 to more than 1GW today.
"This proof that the solar industry can achieve the manufacturing scale necessary to fight climate change is especially timely in light of the Copenhagen conference that began last week," said Bruce Sohn, Presdient,First Solar."Our efforts in scaling our technology are critical to creating a more sustainable energy infrastructure and reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
The company says it has continually lowered the cost of manufacturing solar modules, breaking the $1 per watt barrier earlier this year.