PEORIA, Ill./TEMPE, AZ – Basic human needs―including access to clean water, health care and education―rely on one critical element: energy. However, today, more than 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity and billions more need access to a reliable grid. Caterpillar’s Electric Power Division is working to resolve these issues by providing a variety of advanced power solutions.
Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) and First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced a strategic alliance to develop an integrated photovoltaic (PV) solar solution for microgrid applications. Under the agreement, First Solar will design and manufacture a pre-engineered turnkey package for use in remote microgrid applications, such as small communities and mine sites. The package will feature Cat-branded solar panels manufactured by First Solar and will include a balance of system components.
Caterpillar will exclusively sell and support the integrated solution featuring Cat-branded solar panels through its worldwide Cat dealer network, along with its current offerings of generator sets and energy storage. Acting as a central source, Cat dealers will be uniquely positioned to provide customers with this fully integrated and supported single solution in the large and rapidly growing microgrid market today.
Microgrids provide value to prime power diesel and gas customers by integrating renewable energy, such as solar power, with generator sets. With these solutions, Caterpillar can help deliver reliable, cost-effective and sustainable energy for customers.
“We are excited to announce this alliance, underpinned by First Solar’s 10 gigawatts of global experience in solar energy, and coupled with Caterpillar’s knowledge of generator sets and distributed power, and the strength of our unmatched dealer network,” said Steve Niehaus, Caterpillar Vice President with responsibility for the Electric Power Division. “By working with First Solar, we will optimize the efficiency and integration of solar power with our offerings.”
“This strategic alliance provides yet more evidence of a global energy transition, where solar energy’s reliability and cost competitiveness with traditional fuels effectively allows it to complement conventional generation. It is also evidence of the role that solar can play in enabling the local generation and distribution of energy to address specific needs,” said Marc van Gerven, First Solar’s Vice President for Global Marketing. “By entering into this alliance with Caterpillar, with its extensive experience and reach, we’re establishing an important new precedent for the commercialization and scaling of microgrid-based distributed generation solutions.”
Caterpillar expects to first market the new microgrid solution in the Asia Pacific, Africa, and Latin America regions, with the integrated PV solution, including Cat-branded solar panels, available for customers in that region in the second half of 2015. This new alliance supports Caterpillar’s belief that sustainable progress is made possible by developing solutions to help improve the quality of life, while also minimizing economic, social and environmental costs.
For 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2014 sales and revenues of $55.184 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit caterpillar.com. To connect with us on social media, visit caterpillar.com/social-media.
About First Solar:
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced thin-film modules. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.