First Solar, Inc. is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules, or solar panels, which can convert sunlight to electricity at competitive prices. Using cadmium telluride (CdTe) as a semiconductor instead of the more common crystalline silicon, First Solar’s modules are economical and productive in a variety of temperature and light conditions.
First Solar was the first module maker to lower its manufacturing cost below the $1-per-watt threshold, bringing generation cost into the range of power produced by conventional means. Thin film solar modules have the smallest carbon footprint and fastest energy payback time of current PV technologies.
Originally founded by Harold McMaster as Solar Cells, Inc., First Solar was purchased by True North Partners, LLC, in 1999 and rebranded as First Solar, Inc. After an initial public offering in 2006, First Solar became a publicly-traded company on the NASDAQ and later became the first pure play renewable energy company to be listed on the S&P 500.
In September 2009, First Solar appointed Robert J. Gillette as Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Mike Ahearn. Mr. Gillette joined First Solar from Honeywell Aerospace, where he served as CEO and president.
In 2010, First Solar ranked 7th in Fortune’s 2010 ranking of the 100 Fastest Growing Companies and 6th in Fast Company’s ranking of the World’s 50 most innovative companies. In 2011, it ranked 1st on Forbes’s list of America’s 25 fastest-growing technology companies.
The Company is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, has manufacturing facilities in Perrysburg, Ohio, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, and Kulim, Malaysia, and is in the process of building additional manufacturing facilities in the United States and Vietnam. – less