First Solar to invest $1.2 bn for producing American-made solar modules

First Solar PV modules

First Solar plans to invest up to $1.2 billion in enhancing production of American-made photovoltaic (PV) solar modules.

The significant investment in solar PV manufacturing is forecast to expand the company’s ability to produce American-made solar modules for the US solar market to over 10 GW DC by 2025, First Solar said in a news statement on Tuesday.

First Solar, as part of its push to scale US production of solar modules, will build its fourth domestic factory, with an annual capacity of 3.5 GWDC, in the US Southeast.

First Solar, the only US-headquartered company among the world’s 10 largest solar manufacturers, expects to invest up to $1 billion in the new factory. It will commence operations in 2025.

First Solar will also invest $185 million in expanding its Northwest Ohio manufacturing footprint, by 0.9 GWDC.

First Solar will invest in expanding the capacity of its two operating facilities in Perrysburg and Lake Township, Ohio, by 0.6 GWDC to 3.6 GWDC 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 GWDC 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 GWDC by 2025.

First Solar estimates that the new investment will add at least 850 manufacturing jobs, taking its total number of direct jobs in the US to over 3,000 people in four states by 2025. By 2025, First Solar is also expected to support an estimated 15,000 indirect and induced jobs.

“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,” Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar, said.

On its last earnings call on July 28, 2022, First Solar announced a record bookings backlog of 44.3 GWDC.

In addition to its Ohio manufacturing facilities, First Solar operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia. It is also building its first new manufacturing facility in India, which is scheduled to begin operations in the second half of 2023.

First Solar expects to have over 20 GWDC of annual global manufacturing capacity in 2025 after completing of its expansion plans in the United States and India.