First Solar to Expand Its US Manufacturing Capacity by 3.3 GW

The leading American manufacturer of solar panels and PV power plants, First Solar Inc. has announced its plans of expanding its American domestic photovoltaic (PV) solar manufacturing capacity by 3.3 GWDC (gigawatt direct current) annually, with an investment of USD 680 million. This investment is representing an implied capital expenditure of approximately USD 0.20 per watt. The move follows nudges from US admin officials to firms to cut dependence for solar imports on China.

The company is initiating the construction-based developments of its third new manufacturing unit in America’s Lake Township, Ohio. This new manufacturing is expected to take the company’s Northwest solar portfolio up to 6 GW in the future. The Ohio factory is expected to start production by the first half of 2023, after getting permissions of pending approval of the various state, regional, and local incentives.

The new manufacturing unit is calculated to achieve its throughput entitlement (modules produced per day) by the end of the same year with over 3 GWDC of nameplate capacity and is expected to attain full nameplate capacity, based on the company’s module efficiency roadmap, in 2025.

Speaking of their new developments, CEO of First Solar, Mr. Mark Widmar stated, “This facility will represent a significant leap forward in photovoltaics manufacturing, a true factory of the future. It will leverage our advantaged position at the intersection of efficiency, energy yield, optimized form factor, and cost competitiveness while leading our manufacturing fleet in delivering the highest efficiency and wattage, and the lowest cost per watt.”

“We have said that we stand ready to support President Biden’s goal to transition America to a clean, energy-secure future, and our decision to more than double our US manufacturing capacity with this new facility is First Solar making good on that commitment, Mark added.

As per the company’s claims this facility will be one of the most advanced of its kind in the solar industry, allowing it to produce an anticipated average of one module roughly every 2.75 seconds across its three-factory Ohio footprint once it achieves its full production capacity. Designed and developed at its research and development (R&D) centers in California and Ohio, First Solar’s advanced thin-film PV modules set industry benchmarks for quality, durability, reliability, design, and environmental performance. Each module features a layer of Cadmium Telluride (CadTel) semiconductor that is only three percent the thickness of a human hair and the company continues to optimize the amount of semiconductor material used by enhancing its vapor deposition process.

Additionally, Besides its Ohio manufacturing facilities, First Solar also operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia.

“As a partner to our solar program since 2003 and a DOE  (Department of Energy) loan guarantee recipient in 2012, this company is a great example of how investment and innovation can build the clean energy future right here at home—shoring up American competitiveness and bringing good-paying jobs to all pockets of the country,” commented Jennifer M. Granholm, US Energy Secretary.

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Bhoomika Singh

Bhoomika is a science graduate, with a strong interest in seeing how technology can impact the environment. She loves covering the intersection of technology, environment, and the positive impact it can have on the world accordingly.

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