First Solar will have 6 GW of domestic manufacturing capacity with third module facility in Ohio
Thin-film solar panel manufacturer First Solar has announced it will invest $680 million to expand its panel production capacity in America by 3.3 GW per year. The company plans to build its third US manufacturing facility in northwestern Ohio.
Combined with the industry-leading ~600 MW plant in Perrysburg, Ohio, and a second ~1.8GW plant in nearby Lake Township, Ohio, this third plant will bring First Solar’s total US production capacity close to 6 GW. The company also produces panels in Malaysia and Vietnam. [Editor’s note: As panels become more powerful in the same footprint, manufacturing capacity can expand without facility square-footage actually growing.]
“These investments in US-made solar technologies perfectly embodies President Biden’s strategy to build domestic production and supply chains for critical industries,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “As a partner in our solar program since 2003 and as a recipient of a DOE loan guarantee in 2012, this company is a great example of how investment and innovation can build the future of clean energy right here at home — strengthening U.S. competitiveness and bringing high-paying jobs to all parts of the country.”
First Solar is the only major manufacturer in North America not to use crystalline silicon solar panels. The company instead makes thin-film modules with cadmium telluride and does not rely on silicon solar cells.
The 1.8 million square ft facility is expected to immediately create approximately 500 jobs, making panels for the utility-scale U.S. solar market.
“We’ve said we’re ready to support President Biden’s goal of transitioning America into a clean, energy-secure future, and our decision to more than double our U.S. manufacturing capacity with this new facility is that First Solar delivers on that promise,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “This facility will represent a major leap forward in the production of photovoltaic cells, a real factory of the future. It will leverage our privileged position at the intersection of efficiency, energy yield, optimized form factor and cost competitiveness, while leading our manufacturing fleet in delivering the highest efficiency and wattage, and the lowest cost per watt.”