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May 1, 2013: First Solar Acquires TetraSun, Gains Advanced Solar Technology

May 1, 2013
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TEMPE, Ariz., and SAN JOSE, Calif. — First Solar Inc. announced it is acquiring TetraSun, a solar photovoltaic (PV) technology startup which has developed a new cell architecture capable of conversion efficiencies exceeding 21 percent with commercial-scale manufacturing costs comparable to conventional multicrystalline silicon solar cells. First Solar signed a definitive agreement to acquire TetraSun from JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. and other investors, including TetraSun management. Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013, were not disclosed. First Solar and JX Nippon Oil & Energy also have entered into discussions on an agreement to distribute the technology in Japan.

TetraSun’s core technology is a proprietary cell architecture which the company says allows high efficiency without high cost — the cell design is said to be simple and optimized for manufacturing, requiring fewer process steps with wider tolerances. The design enables high-volume production with higher yields using readily available equipment. Cost-effectiveness is further enhanced by using large-format (156 mm) n-type wafers and eliminating the need for expensive silver and transparent conductive oxide (TCO). The technology also benefits from a low temperature coefficient of power, which produces higher energy yields in hot climates. First Solar tentatively plans to begin commercial-scale manufacturing of the new technology in the second half of 2014.

“This breakthrough technology will unlock the half of the PV market which favors high-efficiency solutions, which has been unserved by First Solar to date,” said Jim Hughes, CEO of First Solar. “This new capability to meet the needs of customers with distributed generation applications, coupled with our leading CadTel offering which remains the benchmark for utility-scale systems, gives us a unique end-to-end suite of solutions to serve the full spectrum of commercial applications.”

For more information, visit www.firstsolar.com.

Publication date: 4/29/2013

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