Expected to be completed in the first half of 2026, the facility is forecast to grow the company’s nameplate manufacturing capacity by 3.5 gigawatts (GW) to reach approximately 14 GW in the US in 2026.
The company’s investment in Louisiana is expected to create over 700 new direct manufacturing jobs in the state.
The company, already believed to be the largest employer in America’s solar manufacturing sector with over 2,500 employees across the country, expects to have over 4,000 direct employees in the country by 2026, including 850 new manufacturing jobs expected to be created in Alabama and Ohio and over 100 new R&D jobs planned in Ohio.
“First Solar’s selection of Iberia Parish for its newest solar panel production facility leaves no doubt that Louisiana is leading the global energy transition, and creating good-paying jobs as a result” said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. “This massive investment and the jobs it will create are a huge win for the people of Acadiana and the entire state. It is proof positive that Louisiana’s ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to energy is growing and diversifying our economy. Thank you to everyone who made this day a reality, and a special thank-you to First Solar for trusting Louisiana to be part of their mission to create a more sustainable future.”
First Solar is unique among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers for being the only US-headquartered company and not manufacturing in China. The company’s tellurium-based semiconductor, which allows it to avoid any dependence on Chinese crystalline silicon supply chains, is the second most common photovoltaic technology available today.
“We are pleased to partner with Louisiana as we lean into our commitment to creating enduring value for America by expanding our solar manufacturing footprint and the domestic value chains that enable it” added Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “As we evaluated our options, Louisiana’s ability to deliver the talent we need stood out, thanks to its extensive workforce development initiatives and the presence of academic institutions such as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette which now features a world-class solar energy lab. In bringing our unique, fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing model to Louisiana, we expect the plant to mirror the commitment to Responsible Solar evident at every First Solar manufacturing facility, which are among the cleanest, safest, and most diverse in the industry. We are proud that our investment in American manufacturing will create stable, good-paying manufacturing jobs and economic and social value in the state.”
Since the start of this decade, First Solar has embarked on a $4.1 billion manufacturing expansion strategy that has seen it grow from approximately 6 GW of global nameplate capacity in 2020 to 13 GW operational today, with approximately 12 GW of nameplate capacity expected to come online in the US and India between the second half of 2023 and 2026. In addition to the Louisiana facility, First Solar commissioned its third Ohio factory earlier this year and is expected to complete its new facility in Alabama and the expansion of its existing Ohio footprint in 2024. The company also expects its new facility in India to begin commercial production in the second half of this year. Additionally, the company is investing up to $370 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, which is expected to be completed next year.
The new Louisiana facility will produce First Solar’s Series 7 modules, which are expected to be manufactured with 100 percent US-made components identified in the current domestic content guidance issued by the US Department of Treasury. First Solar anticipates that once the new factory is completed and ramped, Series 7 modules will account for over two thirds of its annual domestic nameplate capacity. Series 7 modules currently produced at the company’s Ohio facility are already manufactured with US-made glass and steel.
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