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First Solar Passes $1 Per Watt Milestone – Cuts Manufacturing Cost To 98 Cents Per Watt March 02, 2009 by Jeff Shepard First Solar, Inc. announced that it reduced its manufacturing cost for solar modules in the fourth quarter to 98 cents per watt, breaking the$1 per watt price barrier.

"This achievement marks a milestone in the solar industry’s evolution toward providing truly sustainable energy solutions," said Mike Ahearn, First Solar Chief Executive Officer. "First Solar is proud to be leading the way toward clean, affordable solar electricity as a viable alternative to fossil fuels."

First Solar began full commercial operation of its initial manufacturing line in late 2004. From 2004 through today, manufacturing capacity has grown 2,500% to more than 500MW in 2008. First Solar’s annual production capacity will double in 2009 to more than 1GW, the equivalent of an average-sized nuclear power plant. These escalating volumes have been accompanied by a rapid reduction in manufacturing costs. From 2004 through today, First Solar’s manufacturing costs have declined two-thirds from over $3 per watt to less than$1 per watt. First Solar is confident that further significant cost reductions are possible based on the yet untapped potential of its technology and manufacturing process.

Ahearn expressed thanks to governments in Germany and other countries for making today’s milestone possible. "Without forward-looking government programs supporting solar electricity, we would not have been able to invest in the capacity expansion which gives us the scale to bring costs down," he said. "First Solar’s ongoing focus on cost reduction enables continued growth even as subsidies decline. In the meantime, those initial investments are paying off in a cleaner environment and in the creation of thousands of jobs with a clear future."