First Solar will build its fourth U.S. solar panel factory in the Southeast
First Solar is expanding its manufacturing operations in the United States beyond Ohio. The thin-film solar panel maker announced today that it will invest up to $1.2 billion in its fourth domestic plant in the Southeast. A specific location has not yet been announced, but First Solar said the site will have an annual capacity of 3.5 GW and should open by the end of 2025.
In addition, First Solar will invest $185 million in upgrading and expanding its 900 MW manufacturing footprint in northwestern Ohio. The company’s first two plants (in Perrysburg and Lake Township, Ohio) will expand to 3.6 GW of annual Series 6 module capacity. First Solar’s third Ohio plant, currently under construction and expected to begin production in H1 2023, will increase to 3.5 GW of annual Series 7 module capacity. This will bring First Solar’s production capacity in Ohio to more than 7 GW by 2025.
First Solar estimates that the new investment in the Southeast and Ohio will add at least 850 new manufacturing jobs, bringing the total number of direct jobs in the United States to more than 3,000 people by 2025, making it believed to be the largest employer in the world. is. American solar industry.
“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 manner that is both timely and timely. sustainable,” said Mark Widmar, CEO, First Solar. “This investment is an important step towards self-sufficiency in solar technology, which in turn will support U.S. ambitions for energy security, the large-scale adoption of solar energy and the ability to be at the forefront of innovation. supports. We are investing in America’s future.”
First Solar’s thin-film PV modules, designed and developed at its R&D centers in California and Ohio, feature a layer of cadmium telluride (CdTe) semiconductor that is only 3% as thick as a human hair. In addition, the company continues to optimize the amount of semiconductor material by improving the vapor deposition process through continued investments in R&D aimed at more efficient module technology with a thinner semiconductor layer. First Solar also has an advanced recycling program that recovers closed-circuit semiconductors for use in new modules.
In addition to manufacturing facilities in Ohio, First Solar also operates plants in Vietnam and Malaysia, and is building its first new manufacturing facility in India, which is expected to start operating in the second half of 2023. Upon completion of its expansion plans in the United States and India, the company expects to have more than 20 GW of annual global production capacity by 2025.