|Table of Contents|
|Intro and Overview|
|Trends and Forces|
|Key Trends and Forces|
First Solar is the world’s largest manufacturer of thin-film solar power modules. The company makes cadmium telluride (CdTe) glass substrate based thin film photovoltaic (PV) panels, which are used to convert sunlight into electricity. Although this new technology converts sunlight to electricity less efficiently than traditional silicon PV modules, thin film PV cells have an advantage in producing electricity under lower light conditions. The ability to produce electricity under a wider range of light conditions makes these cells attractive to utility companies who require stable large-scale, utility-sized renewable energy production. The company had revenues of $2,564 million in 2010.
The company's modules have cost advantages over silicon PV cells, however production is heavily dependent on tellurium (Te) supply. It is the major component in First Solar's panels (which are made of Cadmium Telluride), and is one of the nine rarest elements on Earth. Statistically it has been reported that 160 to 215 metric tons of Te are mined each year, which means that First Solar requires 51% to 81% of the world supply of Te. If something happens to this supply or First Solar expands too quickly, there is no guarantee that global supply will hold up.(Read more at Wikinvest )