First Solar, Inc. announced it has hired James Hughes as Chief Commercial Officer. In this newly created role designed to accelerate First Solar’s entry into emerging markets, Hughes will have comprehensive leadership responsibility for global business development and sales; project development; engineering, procurement and construction (EPC); product management and international public affairs and communications.

Reporting to Hughes will be Jim Brown, Executive Vice President of Global Business Development; Maja Wessels, Executive Vice President of Global Public Affairs; Jim Lamon, Senior Vice President of EPC and Operations and Maintenance; Tom Kuster, Vice President of Product Management and Customer Service; and Ted Meyer, Vice President of Global Corporate Communications.

“Jim is extraordinarily prepared to help First Solar open new markets and reach revenue goals,” said Mike Ahearn, First Solar’s Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer. “We will benefit greatly from his diverse and extensive global and operational experience in the energy sector.”

Most recently, Hughes was CEO and Director of AEI, which owned and operated power distribution, power generation, natural gas transportation and services, and natural gas distribution businesses in emerging markets worldwide. Previously, he was President and Chief Operating Officer for Prisma Energy, which was formed out of former Enron interests in international electric and natural gas utilities.

Hughes earned a juris doctor from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, a Certificate of Completion in international business law from Queen Mary’s College, University of London, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University.

First Solar designs and builds complete photovoltaic (PV) power plants for customers around the world – including the two largest PV projects in the world, which are currently under construction – and is the world’s largest manufacturer of thin-film solar modules. The company is committed to sustainability and created the solar industry’s first prefunded collection and recycling program.