First Solar has acquired General Electric's (GE) global cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar intellectual property portfolio in exchange of 1.75 million shares, which are valued at $81.8m, of First Solar common stock.
According to the deal, GE will get a 2% stake in First Solar and will retain the shares for at least three years.
In addition to this, First Solar R&D and GE Global Research will partner on future technology development to further advance CdTe solar technology.
The two companies have also formed a commercial relationship around solar inverter technology, under which First Solar will continue to buy inverters from GE Energy Management.
These inverters will be used in First Solar's global solar installations to optimise electrical balance of plant.
GE has 34GW of renewable energy installed globally and will enhance its presence in solar through access to purchasing and branding First Solar's modules for future global GE deployments.
This will be in addition to its investment in inverters, controls, balance of plant and ownership of utility scale systems.
First Solar CEO Jim Hughes said, "We are creating an exciting synergy with this deal. The addition of GE's PV thin film technology and R&D resources will advance our technology roadmap, while realizing cost reduction in our manufacturing process."
GE renewable energy business president and CEO Anne McEntee said, "To lead in today's solar industry, you must have the most competitive technology at the most competitive cost position."
First Solar will use its existing manufacturing sites to further advance CdTe technology, while GE has cancelled its plans to build its Aurora, Colorado, solar manufacturing facility.
Cravath, Swaine & Moore have represented First Solar on the transaction, while King & Spalding and Arnold & Porter for GE.
Image: First Solar R&D and GE Global Research will partner on future technology development to further advance CdTe solar technology. Photo: courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.