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  • Orbiting the Sun: ‘Australian Made’ Solar Projects Jump-Start Local Manufacturing Sector

    Posted 2 May 2013 11:47 AM by Matt Law

    First Solar sparks local supply chain employment through its Australian projects

    Renewable energy development is growing at impressive rates in Australia. In particular, if you’ve heard of Bill Bryson’s popular book, “In a Sunburned Country,” it’s no stretch to imagine the potential for solar generation in Australia. Solar energy is the most abundant of Australia’s natural resources, and should be playing a much larger role in Australia’s energy mix.

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  • Orbiting-Sun-CLP

    Posted 7 February 2013 4:25 PM by Tom Cheyney

    The sight of a massive, utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant under construction can be awe inspiring, with millions of shimmering glass panels lined up, row after row, across swaths of wide-open desert. While the clean technology on display may be visually dramatic and a testament to solar power’s coming of age, consider the personnel situation. The tradespeople and the professional and administrative staff hired to put these installations together are working on types of projects that have, until recently, never been built before.

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  • Orbiting the Sun: Expeditors Helps Take the Hassle Out of First Solar's Customs Compliance, Logistics Support

    Posted 3 January 2013 5:00 PM by Tom Cheyney

    What do Walmart, Apple, and First Solar have in common? As companies that manufacture and source equipment and materials inside the United States as well as locations around the world, they must deal with the gauntlet of customs rules and regulations in each port of call, and keep track of their freight as it ships through the export-import sequence.

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  • Orbiting the Sun: Ohio’s Conforming Matrix, Pro-pak Provide Homegrown Support for First Solar’s Factories

    Posted 30 November 2012 4:30 PM by Tom Cheyney

    Before First Solar started scaling its initial manufacturing operations in Perrysburg, Ohio, in the mid-2000s, times had turned tough in the greater Toledo area where the company traces its roots. The once-numerous automotive industry supply-chain companies had dwindled, and many of the surviving firms struggled to keep their doors open, with thousands of middle-class working men and women laid off in the process.

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  • Orbiting the Sun: Ohio’s ATS Automation Brings Brains, Brawn to First Solar’s Manufacturing Lines

    Posted 18 November 2012 5:00 PM by Tom Cheyney

    One key to First Solar’s manufacturing success is its ability to fully process its thin-film photovoltaic panels in a matter of hours, with very high yields at a cost below that of competing technologies. Engineered glass enters a fully automated production system and runs through a series of deposition, thermal, etching, and cleaning steps that create a thin layer of photoactive semiconductor materials sandwiched between two pieces of glass.

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