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America’s largest solar panel maker pledges to build a billion-dollar factory in the southeastern United States [Update]

First Solar, the largest US solar panel maker, will invest up to $1.2 billion to ramp up production of US-made solar panels. The announcement follows the passage of the Cut Inflation Act in August, which encourages domestic clean energy manufacturing.

November 16 update: First Solar today announced the establishment of its fourth US solar photovoltaic module manufacturing plant in Lawrence County, Alabama, southwest of Huntsville.

The planned plant in Lawrence County’s Mallard Fox Industrial Park represents an investment of approximately $1.1 billion and is expected to be commissioned by 2025, with a planned annual capacity of 3.5 GW.


August 30: First Solar’s new plant will be its fourth in the United States. The company says the plant will be fully vertically integrated and will be located somewhere in the southeastern United States.

The Tempe, Arizona-based company is the only US-based company among the top 10 solar manufacturers in the world.

The new investment is expected to expand First Solar’s capacity to produce US-made solar modules for the home solar market to more than 10 GWdp by 2025.

First Solar is also upgrading and expanding its three other facilities: It will spend $185 million to increase the capacity of its two plants in Perrysburg and Lake Township, Ohio, by 0.6 GWdp at 3.6 GWdc from Series 6 module capacity. Its third plant in Ohio, scheduled for commissioning in the first half of 2023, will also be expanded to 3.5 GWdc of annual production. Series 7 module capacity. The 7 Series are manufactured exclusively for the US utility market.

First Solar estimates the new investment will create at least 850 new manufacturing jobs, bringing its total number of direct U.S. jobs to more than 3,000 people in four states by 2025.

First Solar says its surge in manufacturing will make it the largest solar manufacturing employer in the United States. This also said that by 2025, the company is expected to support approximately 15,000 indirect and induced jobs through its current and future manufacturing operations.

Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar, said:

By passing the Cut Inflation Act of 2022, Congress and the Biden-Harris administration gave our industry the responsibility to enable America’s clean energy future, and we must face it. at the time in a way that is both timely and sustainable.

This investment is an important step toward self-sufficiency in solar technology, which in turn supports America’s energy security ambitions, large-scale solar deployment, and ability to lead innovation.

We are proud that our manufacturing presence in the United States is expected to directly and indirectly support more than 18,000 jobs across the country by 2025, while our manufacturing investment will add an estimated $3.2 billion in value to the US economy, reflecting the impact of solar manufacturing on our country. We are investing in America’s future.

The company also operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia and is building its first new factory in India.

Photo: First Solar Desert Sunlight solar farm/U.S. Department of the Interior

Read more: Here’s how new US tax credits and rebates will work for clean energy home upgrades


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