One module every three seconds: solar technology at the center of the US transition

The United States towards energy autarchy and the fight against climate change thanks to solar power. This is the future envisioned by First Solar Inc, which saw the space to grow in Biden’s plans. The new administration, in fact, aims to make the entire US electricity grid carbon free by 2035, and to do so it requires the support of strictly stars and stripes companies with the dual purpose of achieving a certain autonomy and creating well-being and jobs. in home. This means fighting the Chinese hegemony, which dominates the market for the production of solar panels, and marking the pace of an all-American transition. Backed by these government plans, First Solar Inc. has just committed to building a $ 680 million panel factory in Ohio. The company is among the top 10 largest solar energy producers in the world, the only one with headquarters in the United States, and plants, as well as in the USA, also in Vietnam and Malaysia. Solar is not explicitly included among the sectors the government wants to push (which are pharmaceuticals, minerals, semiconductors and innovative batteries), but it certainly has the power and numbers to lobby. The Biden administration is already considering increasing incentives for panel purchases and tax breaks for domestic manufacturers that would make import technologies cheaper. In this, CEO Mark Widmar was clear. In an interview with CNN he did not say he was concerned about Trump’s removal of tariffs on Chinese imports: “We are absolutely competitive and able to withstand the competition,” he said, but he did not hesitate to send a message to the new administration: “Our intention is to go even further, but only with reforms and the support given by fair taxation behind us. They are among the factors that we will take into account in making an informed decision on whether we intend to expand further in the United States or not. ”The new plant will create 500 new jobs, and produce higher efficiency modules that are more competitive and designed to lower the cost. cost per watt of solar energy. The forecast is the production of a module every three seconds, thanks to a plant that exploits high levels of automation, with artificial intelligence, machine learning and integrated communication technologies. Widmar reiterated it: “Our technology does not depend even in the slightest part on China, because we have been working on innovation for twenty years and have differentiated methods and materials”. And First Solar is careful to highlight how its production of panels differs from the oriental one also in ecological terms: “We base our premises on the circular economy, using copper and zinc by-products and recovering 90% of the materials and 100% of semiconductors when a panel reaches the end of its life “. In the future of First Solar there are not only panels. Also questioned by CNN, the CEO winked at cryptocurrencies: “We supply many data centers with green energy, I don’t see why not to do the same with bitcoin mining to make it sustainable,” he said.

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