First Solar announced that it has selected Lawrence County, Alabama, as the location for its fourth American photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility. The new factory is part of a previously announced investment in scaling First Solar’s American manufacturing footprint to more than 10 GW by 2025 and is expected to create more than 700 new direct jobs in the state.
The planned factory in Lawrence County’s Mallard Fox Industrial Park represents an investment of approximately US$1.1 billion and has expected commissioning by 2025, with a planned annual capacity of 3.5 GW. The new fully vertically integrated facility will join three factories in Ohio, including one scheduled to come online in the first half of 2023, to form part of First Solar’s expanded domestic manufacturing footprint.
The new facility is expected to advance a strategic push by the company to scale its US manufacturing base in support of the effort to decarbonize the American economy and achieve self-sufficiency in reliable and competitive renewable energy technologies. “The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has firmly placed America on the path to a sustainable energy future,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of 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 is unique among the world’s 10 largest solar manufacturers for being the only US-headquartered company and for not manufacturing in China, and its latest investment is expected to bring the company’s total investment in American manufacturing to more than US$4 billion.
In addition to the new Alabama facility, the company previously announced that it is investing US$185 million in upgrading and expanding its northwest Ohio manufacturing footprint, currently the largest vertically integrated complex of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, by 0.9 GW. In October 2022, First Solar also announced plans to invest approximately US$270 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio. The new facility is believed to be the first of its scale in the United States and is expected to accelerate American leadership in the development and production of advanced thin-film PV.
First Solar estimates that its new investments in Alabama and Ohio, now estimated at US$1.3 billion, will add at least 850 new manufacturing and more than 100 new R&D jobs, taking its total number of direct jobs in the United States to more than 3000 people in four states by 2025. By 2025, First Solar is also expected to support an estimated 15,000 indirect and induced jobs from its ongoing and future manufacturing operations.