First Solar to invest up to $1.1 billion in fifth US manufacturing facility

First Solar, Inc., has announced its intention to build a fifth manufacturing facility in the US, investing up to $1.1 billion in a further expansion of American capacity to produce its own solar PV modules.
First Solar to invest up to $1.1 billion in fifth US manufacturing facility
Courtesy of First Solar.

The planned fully vertically integrated facility, the location of which is yet to be determined, is expected to grow the company’s nameplate manufacturing capacity by 3.5 gigawatts (GW) to reach approximately 14 GW in the US and 25 GW globally in 2026.

The new facility, which is anticipated to be completed and commissioned in the first half of 2026, 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.

“This decision is underpinned by robust fundamentals, including an order backlog of approximately 78 gigawatts, the industry’s strongest balance sheet, a repeatable vertically integrated manufacturing template, and a proven technology platform” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “With this investment, we continue to help deliver on the promise of the Inflation Reduction Act, which is to create enduring value for our country. By expanding America’s solar manufacturing base, and the value chains that support it, we are working to ensure that the US enters the next decade in a position of strength, fully capable of producing the technology it needs to complete its transition to a sustainable energy future.”

Over the past year and including this announcement, First Solar has committed to over $2.8 billion in capital investment and 7.9 GW of additional manufacturing capacity in the US. The company had previously announced an approximately $1.3 billion investment in a new 3.5 GW manufacturing facility in Alabama and a 0.9 GW expansion of its existing manufacturing footprint in Ohio, both of which are expected to be completed at the end of 2024. First Solar, the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere with 6.3 GW of operational capacity in the US, also previously announced an investment of up to $370 million for a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, which is expected to be completed in 2024.

The company is already believed to be the largest employer in America’s solar manufacturing sector with over 2,500 employees across the country. The company estimates that the new facility will add over 700 new jobs, which when combined with the 850 new manufacturing jobs expected to be created in Alabama and Ohio and over 100 new R&D jobs planned in Ohio, takes its total number of direct jobs in the US to over 4,000 people across the country by 2026. The facility’s completion in 2026 is contingent upon obtaining necessary permits and approvals.

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Tags: Solar ,Jobs ,PV
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