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First Solar is focused on providing value-driven energy solutions that protect and enhance the environment. Our thin film PV modules are the most eco-efficient solar technology in the industry as they produce more energy, at a lower cost and with the smallest life cycle impacts. With the smallest carbon footprint, fastest energy payback time and lowest water use of all solar technologies, First Solar modules also have a proven energy yield advantage (link to module page) over crystalline silicon modules.
First Solar PV power plants provide a sustainable solution to key ecological issues including energy security, climate change and water scarcity. Every minute, our global installed base of over 8GW displaces 10 metric tons of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of removing 2 cars off the road and saving over 27,000 liters (~7,000 gallons) of water.
CdTe has the lowest water use of all solar technologies and conventional energy generation. CdTe PV plants use little to no water while in operation—the only water consumption during operation is related to cleaning the modules. For more information on carbon and water displacement figures, click here.
First Solar works to minimize impacts during the construction phase through its commitment to responsible land use. We have worked with NGOs such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to identify best practices throughout a utility-scale PV plant’s lifecyle.
Best practices include careful site selection (on low value land), community involvement, impact mitigation and biodiversity protection. First Solar’s PV power projects provide broad-ranging benefits throughout their construction and operation. In addition to generating clean energy and creating local jobs, First Solar projects help protect biodiversity and preserve cultural heritage sites.
“Large-scale use of CdTe PV modules does not present any risks to health and the environment… these modules do not produce any pollutants, and furthermore, by displacing fossil fuels, they offer great environmental benefits. CdTe PV modules appear to be more environmentally friendly than all other current uses of Cd.”
Source: "RENEWABLE & SUSTAINABLE ENERGY REVIEWS", Vol 8, 2004, pp 303–334, V M Fthenakis, "Life Cycle Impact Analysis of Cadmium in CdTe PV Production", with permission from Elsevier.
First Solar has integrated environmental responsibility into every aspect of the product life cycle, from raw material sourcing through end-of-life recycling.
Review First Solar's manufacturing and construction injury rates, energy and water intensity, waste generation, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Solar energy offers the highest global potential for electricity generation among renewable energy sources, and is therefore an important technology for both, climate change mitigation, and the development of a low carbon economy.