First Solar to Invest $1.1 Billion in US Manufacturing Facility, Boosting Solar Capacity

Representational image. Credit: Canva

First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR), a leading American solar energy company, has unveiled plans to construct its fifth manufacturing facility in the United States (US), with an investment of up to $1.1 billion. This move aims to significantly enhance America’s photovoltaic (PV) solar module production capacity and aligns with First Solar’s mission to promote sustainable energy solutions. The new facility, yet to have its location finalized, is expected to be operational in the first half of 2026, and will house manufacturing technology, and once completed, will add 3.5 gigawatts (GW) of nameplate capacity to the company’s portfolio.


Mark Widmar, the Chief Executive Officer of First Solar, commented, “This decision is underpinned by robust fundamentals, including an order backlog of approximately 78 gigawatts, the industry’s strongest balance sheet, a repeatable vertically integrated manufacturing template, and a proven technology platform. With this investment, we continue to help deliver on the promise of the Inflation Reduction Act, which is to create enduring value for our country. By expanding America’s solar manufacturing base, and the value chains that support it, we are working to ensure that the US enters the next decade in a position of strength, fully capable of producing the technology it needs to complete its transition to a sustainable energy future.”

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The fifth manufacturing facility is expected to be fully vertically integrated and will enable the production of First Solar’s Series 7 modules. These modules are set to be manufactured using 100% US-made components, in compliance with the domestic content guidance issued by the US Department of Treasury. Currently, the Series 7 modules produced at the company’s Ohio facility already incorporate US-made glass and steel, and the expansion will further enhance domestic sourcing. Upon completion and ramp-up, Series 7 modules are projected to constitute more than two-thirds of First Solar’s annual domestic nameplate capacity, which is expected to reach approximately 14 GW in the US and an impressive 25 GW globally by 2026.


First Solar has invested over $2.8 billion in capital and 7.9 GW in additional manufacturing capacity in the US, including a $1.3 billion investment for a new 3.5 GW facility in Alabama and a 0.9 GW expansion in Ohio, both to be completed by 2024. As the largest vertically integrated solar manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere, First Solar also earmarked up to $370 million for an R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, scheduled for completion in 2024. These moves reinforce the company’s commitment to sustainable energy and solidify its position as a key player in the nation’s solar industry.

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In addition to the significant boost in manufacturing capacity, the investment is expected to create more than 700 new jobs, further contributing to the company’s status as the largest employer in America’s solar manufacturing sector. Combined with previously announced expansions and investments, including a new 3.5 GW manufacturing facility in Alabama and a 0.9 GW expansion in Ohio, as well as an R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, First Solar’s total number of direct jobs in the US is projected to exceed 4,000 by 2026. The completion of the new facility set for 2026, is contingent upon obtaining the necessary permits and approvals. 

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