Talk:Directory:First Solar

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Discussion page for Directory:First Solar

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Template: 43 / Latest: Directory:Solar > Directory:Thin Film Solar >Directory:First Solar - Though this Arizona company is to be congratulated on reducing manufacturing costs for solar modules to 98 cents per watt, breaking the $1 per watt price barrier, the environmental downside of the use of highly toxic cadmium can't be overlooked. (PESWiki March 16, 2009)


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Cadmium Toxicity

On March 03, 2009, New Energy Congress member, Congress:Member:Robert L. Pritchett wrote:

First Solar has addressed the recycling issue, but yes the panels do contain a smidgeon of cadmium.

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On March 03, 2009, New Energy Congress member, Congress:Member:Richard George wrote:

Right now, you can return the modules to First Solar for disposal but no one can guarantee that First Solar will honor this offer (or even exist as a company) in 25+ years...

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On March 04, 2009, New Energy Congress member, Congress:Former Member:Daniel Bowers wrote:

I voted no as a top 100 technology for a few reasons, the main one being the environmental impact these cells have due to the toxicity of the cells. Over time the cells break down and leech cadmium into the environment. If there is an accident when installing these cells it may even require calling out a HAZMAT team to deal with the problem.

Less efficient cells require more space to generate the same amount of electricity. When factoring in the cost of real estate, which is a region like Los Angeles is very expensive, the costs are no longer $1.00 per watt. More wires, more labor, more cells, environmental hazard, low efficiency.

Amorphous silicon cells do not require glass housings and are just as efficient. You can even buy the cells in rolls, simply roll it out, hook it up, glue/ or tack it down and walk away for twenty years. No problem!

If people have cadmium cells on their roofs and there is a hail storm those toxins will go straight into the water supply.

We need clean safe energy! If it doesn't fit that simple criteria it doesn't belong in the top 100 as far as I am concerned. What about the environmental risks/ hazards during manufacturing? Their factories are overseas where we don't have control on the working conditions.

We need domestic energy suppliers which create American jobs. They were only planning to expand the Ohio facility if based on subsidies. I am quite certain the vast majority of their cells will come from Malaysia where they offset the costs of production by paying workers twenty cents an hour.

No thank you, I am looking for that symbol of pride with a "Made in America" stamped on the box.

Not $1/Watt Yet

On March 03, 2009, New Energy Congress member, Congress:Member:Richard George wrote:

"Their product has a very low efficiency and low power density that is roughly 1/3 that of the best Sunpower or Sanyo modules. Their modules produce between 60 Wp and 77.5 Wp rated outputs. The industry standard now is 250 to 350 Wp per module. Because of the low power density, you have 3X the module installation labor and racking/mounting costs relative to Sunpower or Sanyo modules. You also need three times the physical space to get the same power output. Also, the product is extremely toxic (cadmium) and they have not addressed disposal of the product at the end of its life.

I do not believe the 0.98 cent per Wp cost figure cited as being real -- this number almost certainly is based on certain assumptions about manufacturing volume (e.g. operate plant at 100% capacity) and raw material / variable costs. Their real cost is significantly higher because this figure cited only is marginal manufacturing cost, there is no way they will achieve the required sales volumes in the current credit crunch environment, and does not include all costs - including corporate overhead, sales, marketing, depreciation of the manufacturing plant, etc. My understanding is that their fully loaded cost is about $2 per Wp. If I want to buy their product today, I'm going to pay over $3 per Wp. With the financial crunch destroying all commercial PPA deal financing, I might be able to negotiate their price down into the $2.50 to $2.75 per Wp range for a 1+ MW order. When I see anyone selling product at $1 per watt to actual customers, they deserve top 100 status. Until then, First Solar is really a marginal product that has a lot of era style hype. The cost savings from the thin film are offset by all of the glass and metal needed to create a module that can survive the elements, wind loads, and heat/cool cycles for 25+ years."


See also

Directory:First Solar


Directory:Solar - index of resources

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PowerPedia:Solar Energy - Encyclopedic review of history and future

Directory:Solar Energy Research and Development


Directory:Solar Problems


Directory:Concentrated Solar Power

Directory:Solar Infrared Harvesting

Directory:Solar PhotoVoltaics

Directory:Home Generation:Solar PV

Directory:Photovoltaic Research and Development

Directory:Solar Thermal

Directory:Home Generation:Solar Heating

Directory:Thin Film Solar

Directory:Solar:Photosynthesis Imitation

Directory:Solar Paint

Directory:Dye Solar Cells

Directory:Solar Tower

Directory:Floating Solar Chimney

Directory:Space Based Solar Power

Directory:Solar Sails

Directory:Solar Windows


Directory:Plastic Solar Cells

Directory:Silicon - more efficient uses, alternatives, methods

Directory:Black Silicon

Directory:Synchronous Solar Heliostat

Directory:Solar:Installation and Consultation



Directory:Solar Applications



Directory:Solar Hydrogen

Directory:Walipini Underground Greenhouses

OS:Solar Ethanol - distiller design

Directory:Energy from Roadways

Directory:Solar Pavement - black-body absorption of the asphalt

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