A Green Idea—Solar Power: First Solar (FSLR)
Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, First Solar (FSLR) makes solar-power modules using an innovative thin-film semi-conductor technology. First Solar’s products do not use polycrystal-line silicon like other solar companies, but instead use another industry’s waste – specifically, mining waste. The panel glass is coated with cadmium sulfide and cadmium telluride, byproducts of mining and smelting operations. First Solar is the only publicly traded renewable energy company whose life cycle is “closed loop,” meaning sustainability is integrated into design, manufacturing, and customer’s use. Over 90% of each First Solar PV Module can be returned free of charge and recycled into new modules.
As a result of this focus on sustainability and efficiency, First Solar’s production costs are lower than those of traditional silicon-based solar panels. Lowering production costs is what drives the company’s growth and market penetration, particularly since cost is a major obstacle to widespread solar energy usage. Currently the 11-year-old company has the lowest production costs in the industry, and faces incredible growth as the solar sector expands.
First Solar was considered Fortune’s fastest-growing technology company in 2009, beating Google and Apple. The company has had annualized sales increase by 182% every year for the past five years. First Solar comprised 1.90% of the Calvert Global Alternative Energy Fund's net assets as of 4/30/10.
Calvert Global Alternative Energy Fund—A Calvert Solution™ Strategy
Calvert Solution™ Strategies are portfolios that selectively invest in companies that produce products and services geared toward solving some of today's most pressing environmental and sustainability challenges. In 2007 we launched the first of these portfolios, the Calvert Global Alternative Energy Fund.