New complaint says Toledo Solar is selling rebranded First Solar panels as its own


First Solar filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against Ohio CdTe thin-film solar panel manufacturer Toledo Solar after learning that Toledo Solar allegedly modified, marketed and sold First Solar Solar panels under the Toledo Solar brand. In addition, Toledo Solar allegedly claimed that the solar panels were manufactured in the United States, even though they were from Malaysia’s first solar factory.

First Solar is asking Toledo Solar to immediately notify all consumers who purchased mislabeled solar panels because they will not be eligible for any tax credits they wish to receive for using American-made solar panels. First Solar is also asking the courts to permanently enjoin Toledo Solar from marketing, selling and/or installing mislabeled solar modules.

“We were disappointed to learn that Toledo Solar modified, marketed and sold First Solar’s CdTe solar panels as its own, and filed a complaint against the company for deceptive trade practices,” a First Solar spokesperson said in a statement. in “Given our role as a solar industry leader with experience in protecting domestic solar manufacturing, we have taken this action after carefully considering the seriousness of the matter. Our goal is to resolve and ultimately resolve the issue by forcing Toledo Solar to notify all purchasers of First Solar panels it has sold as its own, and to prevent it from further falsely claiming and selling any additional First Solar panels it may have. : supply”:

The new serial number engravings are superior to previous First Solar numbers

First Solar first discovered the alleged tampering last year when the nonprofit sought First Solar’s help decommissioning and recycling an 18-year-old First Solar system installed at the Ohio governor’s mansion in suburban Columbus. Toledo Solar’s new solar panels were on site in preparation for installation. The Toledo Solar panels had serial numbers indicating they were manufactured at First Solar’s Malaysian facility in 2018 and sold to an Ohio solar developer in 2019. Surplus solar panels are often resold, which may be the case for the Ohio developer, though no further information is available. provided. The dashes were also changed with new serial number engravings and replaced with junction boxes.

First Solar then followed up by ordering 200 Toledo Solar 115-W panels in January 2023. The panels were shipped in February and included a label indicating they were made by Toledo Solar in the United States. The first inspections of the solar modules revealed that they are the first solar panels manufactured in Malaysia.

Toledo Solar started a 100 MW annual production line in Perrysburg, Ohio in 2020. The Perrysburg facility, located less than 10 miles from First Solar’s multi-gigawatt manufacturing campus, is set up to make CdTe thin-film panels. residential market where First Solar does not focus.

“We appreciate First Solar. I am a shareholder,” said Toledo Solar CEO Aaron Bates The World of Solar Energy 2020. “We don’t see Toledo Solar as a competitor to First Solar. That’s one of the decisions we made very early on. If we were going to explore solar, we would only do so if there was a market we could serve that didn’t compete with First Solar. They are of useful scale. Toledo Solar serves the non-utility market in the United States.”

Toledo Solar announced in late 2022 that it would expand its small line to 2.8 GW of generating capacity by 2027.

Requests for comment to Toledo Solar were not returned.

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