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First Solar Celebrates its “Faces of Climate Change” on Earth Day

Posted 22 April 2013 5:36 PM by Lettemieke Mulder

This year's global Earth Day theme is "The Face of Climate Change." Policies to transition to a low carbon economy and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are driving global demand for photovoltaic (PV) energy. In addition to mitigating climate change, First Solar provides solutions to energy price volatility, energy security and water scarcity. With the smallest carbon footprint, lowest water use, and fastest energy payback time of all solar technologies on a life cycle basis, First Solar’s PV power plant systems are designed to sustainably meet today’s global energy demands.

The environmental benefits of First Solar PV power plant systems are considerable; at the very least, they reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions by at least 89 percent when compared to existing grid electricity. But we go further by embracing the concepts of product life cycle management and taking into account the environmental impact of our products and utility-scale solar projects throughout their life cycles; from sustainable raw material sourcing and responsible manufacturing and construction, to providing a compelling recycling service for PV power plant and module owners.

First Solar is continuously improving the design and efficiency of our modules and reducing the energy and water intensity of our manufacturing process. Through our eco-efficient PV power plants, First Solar is helping displace more carbon emissions than we emit through our company-wide operations. PV power plants utilizing First Solar modules displace more than three times the amount of greenhouse gases emitted through our global operations. Since 2008, First Solar has emitted 1.4 million metric tons CO2 equivalent. With 7 GW of modules produced, First Solar is displacing more than 4.5 million metric tons of CO2e a year, resulting in a net positive carbon impact of 3.1 million metrics tons CO2e per year. To put this into perspective, 7 GW of First Solar modules remove the equivalent of over 920,000 cars per year and save over 12.5 billion liters (over 3 billion gallons) of water on an annual basis.

Our First Solar associates around the world are the “Faces of Climate Change” behind the company, helping to design, manufacture, and construct PV power plant solutions which reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change. In addition, First Solar associates take actions such as implementing waste separation policies in offices, taking public transportation to work, and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to help build solar-powered and LEED-certified homes in the communities in which we live and work. Every day, our associates help First Solar fulfill our commitment to one of our core values: Environmental Responsibility.


Positive Carbon Impact

//2008-2012

 Carbon Impact

By producing eco-efficient PV power systems, First Solar is displacing more than three times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it emits.

Since 2008, First Solar’s company-wide greenhouse gas emissions amounted to approximately 1.4 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. With 7 GW of modules produced, First Solar is displacing more than 4.5 million metric tons of CO2e a year, resulting in a net positive carbon impact of 3.1 million metrics tons CO2e per year. Every minute, these 7GW of First Solar modules displace the equivalent of removing 2 cars from the roads and saving over 23,000 liters (~6000 gallons) of water. During their operation, PV power plants utilizing First Solar modules are helping to displace emissions produced by conventional energy sources.

By comparison, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. electricity generation sector produces approximately 2 billion metric tons of CO2e per year.

*Operational emissions from Scope 1 (fuels and refrigerants) and Scope 2 (purchased electricity) sources (see cdproject.net)