First Solar, Inc. announced that Acadiana Regional Airport in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, will be the designated site for its fifth fully integrated manufacturing facility in the United States. This facility, anticipated to be the most significant capital investment in the region’s history, will involve a financial commitment of $1.1 billion to enhance the nation’s capability for producing photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. It is expected d to be finished by the first half of 2026, and its completion will augment the company’s manufacturing capacity by 3.5 gigawatts (GW), bringing the total to approximately 14 GW within the United States by 2026.
First Solar’s venture in Louisiana will generate more than 700 fresh, direct manufacturing positions within the state. As an enterprise already recognized as the principal employer within the American solar manufacturing sphere, boasting a workforce exceeding 2,500 nationwide, the company envisions expanding its direct employee count to surpass 4,000 by 2026.
First Solar is the sole company headquartered in the US that doesn’t carry out manufacturing operations in China. The company uses tellurium-based semiconductor technology which ranks as the second most prevalent photovoltaic technique currently accessible.
“First Solar’s selection of Iberia Parish for its newest solar panel production facility leaves no doubt that Louisiana is leading the global energy transition, and creating good-paying jobs as a result,” said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said. “This massive investment and the jobs it will create are a huge win for the people of Acadiana and the entire state. It is proof positive that Louisiana’s ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to energy is growing and diversifying our economy. Thank you to everyone who made this day a reality, and a special thank-you to First Solar for trusting Louisiana to be part of their mission to create a more sustainable future.”
“We are pleased to partner with Louisiana as we lean into our commitment to creating enduring value for America by expanding our solar manufacturing footprint and the domestic value chains that enable it,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “As we evaluated our options, Louisiana’s ability to deliver the talent we need stood out, thanks to its extensive workforce development initiatives and the presence of academic institutions such as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette which now features a world-class solar energy lab.”
Widmar also added, “In bringing our unique, fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing model to Louisiana, we expect the plant to mirror the commitment to Responsible Solar evident at every First Solar manufacturing facility, which are among the cleanest, safest, and most diverse in the industry. We are proud that our investment in American manufacturing will create stable, good-paying manufacturing jobs and economic and social value in the state.”
First Solar anticipates to have approximately 12 GW of nameplate capacity to come online in the US and India between the latter half of 2023 and 2026. Apart from the Louisiana facility, First Solar also inaugurated its third Ohio plant earlier this year. It plans the completion of a new facility in Alabama and an expansion of its existing Ohio presence by 2024. Furthermore, the company projects the commencement of commercial production in its new Indian facility in the latter half of this year. The company is allocating up to $370 million toward a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, slated for completion in the upcoming year.
The Louisiana site will manufacture First Solar’s Series 7 modules, envisioned to be crafted using 100% domestically sourced components, adhering to the current guidelines set by the US Department of Treasury for domestic content. Currently, Series 7 modules produced at the Ohio facility are already manufactured with domestically sourced glass and steel.