More than 1.3 billion people currently have no access to reliable power supply, and Caterpillar aims to resolve this issue by establishing renewable energy business. Its Electric Power Division and First Solar formed a strategic alliance to develop an integrated PV solar solution for microgrid applications. Asia Pacific, Africa, and Latin America regions are Caterpillar’s first targets.
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 integrated solutions including generator sets and energy storage.
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 GW 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," said Marc van Gerven, First Solar's Vice President for Global Marketing.
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.