First Solar Inc. has acquired Evolar AB, a European thin film company. Officials say the purchase price is approximately $38 million paid at closing and up to an additional $42 million to be paid subject to certain technical milestones achieved in the future.
The move aims to accelerate First Solar’s next-generation photovoltaic (PV) technology development. The acquisition combines First Solar’s existing research and development streams, intellectual property portfolio and expertise in developing and commercially scaling thin-film PV with Evolar’s technical knowledge.
“With this acquisition, along with our new innovation center in the U.S. and longstanding commitment to research and development, we are investing not just in First Solar’s future, but the future of solar energy,” says First Solar’s CEO Mark Widmar. “We anticipate that high-efficiency tandem PV modules will define the future, speeding up decarbonization by allowing us to convert sunlight into clean electricity more efficiently. This acquisition supplements our existing R&D streams with expertise in thin film semiconductors complementing CadTel. We expect that it will accelerate our efforts to develop tandem technology that continues our commitment to ultra-low carbon, responsibly produced solar.”
Evolar’s laboratory in Uppsala, Sweden, will continue research, marking the first time First Solar will have a research and development facility in Europe. Upon closing the transaction, approximately 30 of Evolar’s research and development staff will transition to First Solar. They will work closely with the company’s team of about 60 scientists at its advanced research technology center in Santa Clara, Calif., and the development teams in Perrysburg, Ohio.
First Solar also reached an agreement recently with Vitro Architectural Glass to manufacture glass for its advanced thin-film PV solar panels. Vitro will invest $93.6 million to rebuild and modernize a production line at its Meadville plant in Cochranton, Pa. The investment will also include the construction of offline production capabilities. Production is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2025. The move is expected to generate more than $1 billion in sales for Vitro in the next decade.