First Solar, Inc. (Arizona State) : The largest solar panel manufacturer in the United States


( First Solar, Inc. is an American photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer of rigid thin film modules, or solar panels, and a provider of utility-scale PV power plants and supporting services that include finance, construction, maintenance and end-of-life panel recycling.

First Solar uses cadmium telluride (CdTe) as a semiconductor to produce CdTe-panels, that are competing successfully with conventional crystalline silicon technology. In 2009, First Solar became the first solar panel manufacturing company to lower its manufacturing cost to $1 per watt and produced CdTe-panels with an efficiency of about 14 percent at a reported cost of 59 cents per watt in 2013.

The company was founded in 1990 by inventor Harold McMaster as Solar Cells, Inc. and the Florida Corporation in 1993 with JD Polk. In 1999 it was purchased by True North Partners, LLC, who rebranded it as First Solar, Inc. The company went public in 2006, trading on the NASDAQ. Its current chief executive is Mark Widmar, who succeeded the previous CEO James Hughes July 1, 2016. First Solar is based in Tempe, Arizona. As of 2010, First Solar was considered the second-largest maker of PV modules worldwide and ranked sixth in Fast Company’s list of the world's 50 most innovative companies.

In 1984, inventor and entrepreneur Harold McMaster founded Glasstech Solar. McMaster foresaw the opportunity to manufacture low-cost, thin film cells on a large scale. After trying amorphous silicon, he shifted to CdTe at the urging of Jim Nolan and founded Solar Cells, Inc., (SCI) in 1990  and the Florida Corporation in 1993 with JD Polk. In February 1999, McMaster sold the company to True North Partners, an investment arm of the Walton family, owners of Wal-Mart. John T. Walton joined the Board of the new company, and Michael J. Ahearn of True North became the CEO of the newly minted First Solar. In its early years, First Solar module efficiencies were modest, about 7 percent.

First Solar launched production of commercial products in 2002 and reached an annual production of 25 megawatts (MW) in 2005.At the end of 2009, First Solar had surpassed an annual production rate of one gigawatt (GW) and was the largest PV module manufacturer in the world.

According to wikipedia

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