- First Solar has taken legal recourse, taking fellow CdTe module maker Toledo Solar to the court
- It has accused Toledo of selling modules claiming these were made in USA, when in fact it says these were made by First Solar Malaysia
- First Solar now wants legal relief as it argues this exposes its to significant liability risk
First Solar Inc, the US based CdTe thin film solar module manufacturer, has accused another US CdTe company, Toledo Solar, of indulging in ‘false and deceptive activities’ by selling and marketing modules under its own brand name while claiming these were actually manufactured at First Solar’s Malaysia fab.
According to a complaint filed with the Northern District Court of Ohio, Toledo Solar is accused of falsely representing First Solar modules, passing off these as its own produced at the former’s Ohio fab.
It claims to have stumbled upon its own Series 4 modules manufactured by First Solar Malaysia fab in 2018, being made available by Toledo Solar under its own name to the Ohio Governor’s mansion in Columbus for replacement, going by the serial number imprint on the inside of the top glass panel.
According to the complaint filed, Toledo altered the panels by etching a new serial number on the outside of the top glass panel, and also replaced First Solar junction box at the back of the module with a new one.
This brings irreparable harm to First Solar, it argues, exposing it to ‘significant liability risk, and the entire photovoltaic (“PV”) industry to immense reputational risk by raising doubt as to the integrity of its participants, and the supply chains through which their products come to market’.
First Solar also says customers who purchased these modules may not be eligible for maximum investment tax credit for projects incorporating modules manufactured entirely in the US.
First Solar now demands legal relief in the form of:
- preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting Toledo Solar from continuing to falsely represent in commerce, promotion and commercial advertising that Toledo Solar manufactured solar modules that in fact were manufactured by First Solar;
- Injunction requiring Toledo Solar to notify every customer who purchased First Solar module from Toledo Solar of the actual origin of the same and of any alterations made by the latter;
- disgorgement of any profits made by Toledo Solar from the sale of solar modules it falsely represented it manufactured, but in fact were manufactured by First Solar;
- recovery of First Solar’s reasonable attorney fees and costs pursuing this action, and
- Such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper.
TaiyangNews reached out to Toledo Solar for its comment, but we were yet to hear from the company till this news was published.
Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) is an important PV technology in the view of the US as it does not rely on the typical supply chain for silicon based solar modules that is fully dominated by China. The US government aims to have CdTe cell efficiencies exceeding 24% and module costs below $0.20/W by 2025 as part of its Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium (CTAC).
Interestingly, both First Solar and Toledo Solar are part of the CTAC consortium led by the University of Toledo (see US Laser Focused On Silicon Free PV Technology).