First Solar selects North Alabama for $1.1 bn PV solar factory

First Solar PV modules

First Solar has selected Lawrence County, North Alabama, for setting up its photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility with an investment of $1.1 billion.

The new factory is part of its investment in scaling First Solar’s American manufacturing footprint to over 10 gigawatts (GW)DC by 2025.

First Solar said the new project is expected to create over 700 new direct jobs in the state. The factory 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 GWDC.

This would be the fourth factory in America for First Solar. The new facility will join three factories in Ohio, including one that is scheduled to come online in the first half of 2023.

“First Solar is a world-class manufacturer, and its solar modules are poised to play an increasingly important role in US energy self-sufficiency,” said Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey.

“The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has placed America on the path to a sustainable energy future,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “This facility, along with its sister factories in Ohio, will form part of the industrial foundation that helps ensure this transition is powered by American innovation and ingenuity.”

First Solar said its latest investment is expected to bring the company’s total investment in American manufacturing to over $4 billion.

Previous investments

First Solar is investing $185 million in upgrading and expanding its Northwest Ohio manufacturing footprint in the Western Hemisphere, by 0.9 GWDC.

In October this year, First Solar also announced that it plans to invest approximately $270 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio.

First Solar estimates that its new investments in Alabama and Ohio, now estimated at $1.3 billion, will add at least 850 new manufacturing and over 100 new R&D jobs, taking its total number of direct jobs in the US to over 3,000 people in four states by 2025.