First Solar Joins Desertec

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) on Tuesday announced that it had joined the Desertec Industrial Initiative as an Associated Partner to demonstrate the potential of photovoltaic (PV) solar technology to provide clean, sustainable energy on a vast scale by harnessing the desert sun.

A leader in utility-scale solar power plants, First Solar is the first pure PV company to join Desertec, which aims to provide a significant portion of the electricity for the Middle East and Northern Africa as well as Europe by 2050 via a network of solar and wind energy sources.

"We look forward to working with Desertec to demonstrate the potential of renewable energies — and PV in particular — to deliver clean, reliable power to the people of Africa and the Middle East as well as Europe," said Stephan Hansen, managing director of First Solar GmbH, the company’s European sales and customer service unit for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. "The challenges of energy security and global warming demand bold solutions and Desertec certainly provides an ambitious vision," he said.

As an Associated Partner of Desertec for an initial period of three years, First Solar will contribute utility-scale PV expertise in Desertec working groups and prepare the ground for reference projects and a roll-out plan. Desertec’s founders include other leading companies in the solar and wind energy business as well as in electricity distribution.

First Solar has already built utility-scale solar power plants in desert conditions in the United States and United Arab Emirates and is preparing the way for a 2 gigawatt solar power plant in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia.

Among other characteristics, First Solar’s thin-film technology delivers superior energy yields even under hot desert conditions.

"As a high-performance, low-maintenance technology that can be deployed in stages and deliver clean energy quickly, PV is the ideal complement to other renewable energies already represented in Desertec," said Mr. Hansen.

First Solar manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology and provides comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) system solutions. The company is delivering an economically viable alternative to fossil-fuel generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life collection and recycling, First Solar is focused on creating cost-effective, renewable energy solutions that protect and enhance the environment.