First Solar to invest USD 1.2bn in US solar panel production
First Solar's Series 6 PV modules. Image by: First Solar.
August 30 (Renewables Now) - First Solar Inc (NASDAQ:FSLR) announced on Tuesday it would invest roughly USD 1.2 billion (EUR 1.2bn) to build its fourth solar panel factory in the US and expand the manufacturing capacity in Ohio.
The thin-film solar modules maker plans to build a new, fully vertically integrated factory with an annual capacity of 3.5 GW (DC) in the US Southeast on an up to USD-1-billion investment. The facilities could start operations in 2025 depending on permitting and approval of various federal, state, regional and solar incentives, First Solar said.
The company also intends to invest USD 185 million to expand production in Ohio, where it now has two factories and is building a third. The plans include expanding the capacity of the two operating factories in Perrysburg and Lake Township by 0.6 GW (DC) to 3.6 GW of Series 6 modules per year.
Following the expansion, the third Ohio factory will be capable of producing 3.5 GW of Series 7 modules per year once its gates open in the first half of 2023, the US manufacturer said.
The company expects these investments will give it the ability to produce over 10 GW (DC) of American-made thin-film Cadmium Telluride-based solar panels by 2025, it highlighted. The overall spending will help create at least 850 manufacturing jobs, and raise the number of workers First Solar directly employs to over 3,000 people in four states by 2025.
“In passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration has 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 sustainable,” commented Mark Widmar, First Solar CEO. “This investment is an important step towards achieving self-sufficiency in solar technology, which, in turn, supports America’s energy security ambitions, its deployment of solar at scale, and its ability to lead with innovation.”
Widmar did not rule out further investments in manufacturing capacity.
“While we have made no decisions at this time, we continue to evaluate further investments in incremental capacity and could announce further expansion plans in the future. Any such decision would be developed on a solid foundation of strong demand, a repeatable vertically integrated manufacturing template, a proven technology platform, and a robust balance sheet,” Widmar added.
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