Q: Could you tell us about First Solar's past records?
Brutsaert: We have installed more than 100 million solar panels worldwide, and their total output capacity is higher than 8GW. In some of those projects, we provided not only solar panels but also EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) services.
In regard to EPC services, we have been currently engaged in a total of 3GW of construction projects. In terms of EPC and O&M (operation and maintenance) of 1MW or larger-scale solar power plants, we have the largest share in the world.
In April 2013, we acquired TetraSun. It manufactures crystalline silicon solar panels that can maintain high output levels even in high-temperature seasons because of their low temperature coefficient. Therefore, they are best suited for systems to be installed on rooftops where a limited area is available.
We aim to improve the cost competitiveness of solar power generation to a level equivalent to conventional power production sources by making use of a vertically-integrated business model that covers not only production of solar panels but production, construction, operation and maintenance of entire solar power generation systems.
Q: How can power producers benefit from the vertically-integrated business model?
Brutsaert: Because the business model optimizes an entire project, makes it easy to lower costs and enables to see risks in every phase, a power plant that has a long-term, high reliability can be realized. And investors will find it an attractive investment.
Also, we have a large amount of ready cash. In 2013, we raised US$430 million by issuing new shares for the second time. We will invest the raised capital in mega solar construction projects in new regions.
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