May 17, 2020

First Solar's Plan to Survive in Tough Solar Market

energy digital
First Solar
solar market
solar panel maker
2 min
First Solar refocuses on large utility-scale projects in order to stay alive in a competitive solar market
First Solar Inc. has announced its plans to shut down certain research and development activities that focused on the same alternative solar products...


First Solar Inc. has announced its plans to shut down certain research and development activities that focused on the same alternative solar products that doomed Solyndra, and instead refocus on the development of advanced cadmium telluride PV technologies to survive.

In the process, the company will have to fire about 100 employees, including 60 from its research center in Santa Clara, Calif. The reorganization plan will narrow First Solar's focus down to large utility-scale power plants and move away from smaller, rooftop installations.

“We’re dedicating all of our resources” to making utility-scale projects more cost-effective, First Solar's Chairman and Interim CEO Michael Ahearn told Business Week. Other initiatives “will be on the back burner.”


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Due to a rapidly changing market, First Solar is abandoning its CIGS technology and returning to existing thin-film technology in order to be able to compete and stay afloat in the industry. Thanks to government subsidies and solar overcapacity, it's practically impossible for any US company to be a low-cost, competitive provider.

For now, profits and shares for First Solar will most likely continue to drop, and without profitable operations, the company is doing all it can to stay alive by pawning off some of its assets. Analysts are optimistic that the company will be able to close the gap in a few years, but the solar industry's economics are terrible and wont be so easy to predict.



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Jul 22, 2021

Octopus Renewables buys Eclipse Power

Dominic Ellis
3 min
The deal, completed with funds managed by Octopus, furthers Octopus’ involvement in the electricity distribution sector

Octopus Renewables has strengthened its electricity distribution profile by fully acquiring Eclipse Power for an undisclosed sum.

The deal, which was completed with funds managed by Octopus, furthers Octopus’ involvement in the electricity distribution sector, having worked with Eclipse since 2018. It will allow Eclipse to continue the expansion of its team, while also investing in its systems, technology, and pipeline, with the ambition of making it one of UK’s leading IDNOs.

Eclipse has secured a portfolio of more than 10,000 connections across residential, industrial, commercial, battery storage and electric vehicle charging customers. Given the focus on electrification of heat, transport and industry in the UK, Eclipse is expected to play an important role in facilitating the UK’s energy transition.

Octopus Renewables is the largest investor of utility scale solar power in Europe, as well as a leading investor in onshore wind and biomass, managing a global portfolio valued at more than £3.5 billion. Institutional investor Nest partnered with the company in March.

Peter Dias, Investment Director, Octopus Renewables, said: “Having worked with Eclipse since 2018 and seeing their exciting growth, we’re thrilled to be able to make this acquisition and support the team to maintain this momentum.

“The acquisition of Eclipse is part of our strategy to identify and back great management teams that are supporting the energy transition. With ongoing support and investment, our investee businesses will have access to the expertise, business networks and financing to be able to scale faster and help contribute towards the UK’s net-zero goals.

“High-quality management of the distribution networks is going to be critical for the UK, and we are very pleased to be directly supporting the decarbonisation of heat, transport, and industry through this acquisition of Eclipse.”

Gary Gay, Managing Director, Eclipse, added Octopus shares a clear understanding of the important role that electricity distribution networks will play in the UK’s drive towards net-zero, and importance of a customer-focussed approach for building future smart distribution networks.

“With that, we are excited to now be part of the Octopus Group, with this investment helping us to reach the next stage of our growth journey and contribute to a greener, more efficient electricity network in the UK.”

Global renewables updates

ReNew Power recently won a 200MW/ac Interstate Transmission System (ISTS) solar generation project in an auction conducted by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company. ReNew Power expects to sign a 25-Year Power Purchase Agreement with the utility by the third fiscal quarter of 2022 to supply clean energy to Maharashtra at a tariff of Rs 2.43/ kWh (~US$0.033).

Natel Energy, a supplier of sustainable hydropower solutions, has announced a $20M funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and supported by Chevron Technology Ventures.
The company will use the funding to deploy its Restoration Hydro Turbine (RHT), which enables cost-effective production of distributed reliable renewable energy.

Duke Energy Florida plans to invest an estimated $1 billion in 10 new solar power plants across Florida, including the construction of four new sites, which will begin in early 2022 and will take approximately 9 to 12 months to complete. Construction of all 10 sites is projected to be finished by late 2024.

LG Electronics has made public its commitment to transition completely to renewable energy by 2050 as a key component of its sustainability strategy. 

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