First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) celebrated the installation of the first of its thin-film cadmium telluride (CdTe) modules at the 230-megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One (AVSR1) project June 28.
“This is the first of 3.8 million panels,” said First Solar Vice President Jim Woodruff, who kept his welcoming talk short, remarking it was “a day for action, not talking.” Woodruff had clearly had his fill of talk during the two-month delay the project had been forced into during its dispute with Los Angeles County over the safety of the modules’ electrical connectors.
Woodruff was instrumental in negotiations that resulted in LA County accepting First Solar’s documentation that certified the module connectors as safe. “What a sweet day,” Woodruff said as he watched a County safety official ceremonially assist with the first module’s installation.
When construction on AVSR1 began in September 2011, module installation had originally been scheduled for April. But in early April a County safety inspector refused to allow installation to begin because the CdTe photovoltaic (PV) modules’ connectors did not have Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certification.