Building for a sustainable future: Upping US solar capacity with 3.5 GW addition
First Solar Inc., a leading American solar technology company, has recently unveiled plans to significantly expand their manufacturing capacity within the United States. The company intends to invest up to $1.1 billion in a new production facility, contributing to America’s ability to manufacture its own photovoltaic solar modules.
“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,”Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar.
Massive expansion on the horizon
The yet-to-be-located facility will be fully vertically integrated and is expected to boost First Solar’s nameplate manufacturing capacity by 3.5 GW. This will bring the company’s total capacity in the US to approximately 14 GW and globally to 25 GW by 2026.
Prioritizing US-made components
In line with the current domestic content guidance issued by the US Department of Treasury, First Solar plans to manufacture their Series 7 modules, a mainstay of the proposed new facility, with 100% US-made components. The company expects that once the new factory is fully operational, these Series 7 modules will account for over two thirds of its annual domestic nameplate capacity.
Economic benefits and job creation
First Solar is already recognized as a significant employer in America’s solar manufacturing sector with over 2,500 employees. The proposed facility will further contribute to employment opportunities, with over 700 new jobs expected to be added. Including their recent investments in Ohio and Alabama, the company estimates a total of over 4,000 direct jobs across the country by 2026.
Proactive investments for a sustainable future
This ambitious plan marks the latest in a series of substantial commitments by First Solar to bolster US solar capacity. Over the past year, the company has committed to over $2.8 billion in capital investment, which includes an anticipated $1.3 billion investment in a new 3.5 GW manufacturing facility in Alabama and a 0.9 GW expansion of its existing manufacturing footprint in Ohio.
Specifications and data
- The new facility is planned to be completed and commissioned in the first half of 2026.
- The facility will produce First Solar’s Series 7 modules, manufactured with 100% US-made components.
- The company’s nameplate manufacturing capacity will be increased by 3.5 GW, reaching approximately 14 GW in the US and 25 GW globally.
- The new facility will generate over 700 new jobs.
Driving forward to a sustainable energy future
The implications of First Solar’s ambitious plan stretch far beyond the immediate future. By bolstering America’s ability to manufacture its own solar technology, the company is not only investing in its own success but also in the wider goal of a sustainable energy future. This move, while significant in its own right, is just one aspect of the broader shift towards renewable energy sources that is expected to dominate the coming decades.