First Solar Inc. is investing up to $1.2 billion in scaling production of American-made, responsibly produced photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. The investment is forecast to expand the company’s ability to produce American-made solar modules for the U.S. solar market to over 10 GW DC by 2025.
The company intends to build its fourth, fully vertically integrated domestic factory, with an annual capacity of 3.5 GW DC, in the U.S. Southeast. First Solar expects to invest up to $1 billion in the new factory, which, contingent upon permitting and pending approval of various federal, state, regional and local incentives, is expected to commence operations in 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,” says Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. “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.”
Additionally, the company will invest $185 million in upgrading and expanding its Northwest Ohio manufacturing footprint by 0.9 GW DC. As part of its plans, First Solar will invest in expanding the capacity of its two operating facilities in Perrysburg and Lake Township, Ohio, by 0.6 GW DC to 3.6 GW DC of annual Series 6 module capacity. The company will also expand its third Ohio factory, expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2023, to 3.5 GW DC of annual Series 7 module capacity. The expansion will increase First Solar’s total investment in its Ohio manufacturing facilities to over $3 billion, with a cumulative annual production capacity of over 7 GW DC by 2025.
“We are proud of the fact that our manufacturing presence in the U.S. is expected to directly and indirectly support over 18,000 jobs across the country by 2025, while our manufacturing investment will add an estimated $3.2 billion in value to the U.S. economy, reflecting the impact of solar manufacturing on our country. We are investing in America’s future,” adds Widmar.
“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,” Widmar continues. “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.”