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Combined Technological Expertise Improves Plant Production

First Solar, Inc., Tempe, Ariz., and GE's power conversion business are utilizing their recently established technology and commercial partnership to develop a more cost-effective and productive utility-scale PV power plant design that combines First Solar's thin-film CdTe modules with GE's new ProSolar 1500 Volt inverter/transformer system.

First Solar integrated new technology into its modules and optimized them for 1500VDC applications. This development significantly increases the size of the solar array served by each inverter and reduces the number of inverter/transformer stations required for each plant to convert the power from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) and feed electricity to a commercial electrical grid.

"This is a significant step in establishing the next generation of utility-scale PV power plants," says Mahesh Morjaria, vice president of product management for First Solar. "Partnering with an industry giant such as GE, we are able to take our power plant design to the next level and bring additional value to our customers."

Morjaria also notes that future generations of First Solar modules will increase optimization, benefiting from advances gained in part from the acquisition. "GE is known throughout the industry as an established leader in power generation technology. With our ProSolar inverters, we were able to draw from our experience developing and manufacturing technology for traditional power plants to create a highly efficient solution with industry-leading capabilities," says Joe Mastrangelo, chief executive officer of GE Power Conversion.

"The inverters' design enables our customers to apply engineering design that significantly increases efficiency of energy production. Together with First Solar, we can help customers get the most out of their solar power systems."

First Solar has already identified projects under construction for initial deployment of the new 1500v system. The 4MW ProSolar 1500V station is said to be the largest inverter in the industry capable of accommodating 1,500 volt DC solar arrays.

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