U.S.-based solar modules manufacturer First Solar has entered into a definitive agreement with funds managed by PAG Real Assets, under which PAG will acquire a 293 MW utility-scale solar project development platform and a solar operations and maintenance (O&M) platform with approximately 665 MW under management in Japan.
Subject to the closing of the acquisition, PAG expects to add First Solar’s project development platform to its existing portfolio of solar projects in Japan, bringing over 600 MW of capacity.
Upon closing, First Solar project development and O&M employees in Japan will join PAG.
In 2021, PAG acquired two solar projects under development in Japan totaling 50 MW from First Solar.
“The sale of these platforms marks the completion of First Solar’s strategic shift to focus on developing, scaling, and selling our advanced module technology,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar.
Earlier this month, First Solar recorded a net loss of $43.25 million in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022, representing a quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) decline of 67.07% compared to the net profit of $131.37 million registered in the previous quarter. The company recorded a 79.37% year-on-year (YoY) decrease from $209.67 million recorded in Q1 2021.
Net sales were down due to a decrease in module sales volume, a decrease in the module average selling price, and lower project revenue in Japan.
The company is building two new manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and India, which will double its manufacturing capacity to 16 GW in 2024.
In August 2021, First Solar commenced the construction of a 3.3 GW module manufacturing facility in Ohio. The facility will cost $680 million and is scheduled for operations in the first half of 2023. In July 2021, First Solar announced that it would invest $684 million to set up a new, vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar module manufacturing facility with a 3.3 GW capacity in India. The facility is expected to be operational in the second half of 2023.
In August 2021, Solar digital solutions startup Terabase Energy signed a definitive agreement to acquire PlantPredict, a predictive solar energy modeling tool designed to develop energy estimates for utility-scale PV applications, from First Solar. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
According to Mercom’s Q1 2022 solar funding and M&A report , 23 GW of large-scale solar projects were acquired in Q1 2022 compared to 13.1 GW in Q4 2021. Project developers and independent power producers were the most active acquirers in Q1 2022, with over 17 GW of projects being acquired.