First Solar, the largest US solar panel manufacturer, announced today that it will invest up to $1.2 billion to ramp up production of US-made solar panels. The announcement follows the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act two weeks ago, which boosts domestic clean energy production.
First Solar’s new factory will be the fourth in the US. The company says the plant will be fully vertically integrated, have an annual capacity of 3.5 gigawatts (GWdc), and will be located somewhere in the southeastern US. It is expected to be operational in 2025.
The company, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, is the only US-headquartered company of the world’s 10 largest solar manufacturers.
The new investment is expected to expand First Solar’s ability to produce US-made solar panels for the domestic solar market to over 10 GWdc by 2025.
First Solar is also upgrading and expanding its other three facilities: it will spend $185 million to expand the capacity of its two plants in Perrysburg and Lake Township, Ohio by 0.6 GWdc up to 3.6 GWdc of annual Series 6 module capacity. The third Ohio plant, expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2023, will also expand to 3.5 GWdc annual Series 7 module capacity. Series 7s are made exclusively for the US utility market.
First Solar estimates the new investment will add at least 850 new manufacturing jobs, bringing the total number of direct jobs in the U.S. to more than 3,000 people in four states by 2025.
First Solar claims its major production boost will make it the largest employer in the U.S. solar manufacturing industry. It also says the company is expected to support 15,000 indirect and induced jobs by 2025 as a result of its ongoing and future manufacturing operations.
Mark Widmar, chief executive officer of First Solar, said:
By passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration have entrusted our industry with the responsibility of enabling America’s clean energy future, and we must meet the moment in a way that is both timely and sustainable.
This investment is an important step towards self-sufficiency in solar technology, which in turn supports US ambitions for energy security, the large-scale adoption of solar energy and the ability to be at the forefront of innovation. .
We are proud that our manufacturing presence in the US is projected to directly and indirectly support more than 18,000 jobs nationwide by 2025, while our manufacturing investments will add an estimated $3.2 billion in value to the US economy, due to the impact of solar production on our country. We invest in America’s future.
The company also operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia and is building its first new factory in India.
Photo: First Solar Desert Sunlight Solar Farm/US Department of the Interior
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