First Solar will invest $640M to boost solar manufacturing in the U.S.

First Solar

First Solar, leading American manufacturer, announced this Wednesday it will invest $640 million to boost the domestic manufacturing capacity of solar photovoltaic modules of the United States.

Firstly, the company pretends to increase capacity to 3,3 gigawatts per year; which represents an implied capital expenditure of approximately $0.20 per watt. It would do so by funding the construction of its third manufacturing facility in the nation.

Secondly, the factory would be located at Lake Township, Ohio; the funding will happen with existing cash resources. As it is still contingent of approval and permitting, the new facility would begin commercial operations by the third half of 2023.

Moreover, by the end of that year, the facility would reach its peak of manufacturing capacity; with over 3 GWDC of nameplate capacity; company also expects to attain full nameplate capacity, based on the company’s module efficiency roadmap, in 2025.

Consequently, once fully operational, the factory will scale the company’s Northwest Ohio footprint to a total annual capacity of 6 GWDC; which is believed to make it the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing complex outside of China.

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First Solar, spear head of PV solar manufacturing

On the other hand, First Solar is one of few American solar manufacturers; instead of importing crystalline silicon (c-Si) semiconductor; the company manufactures its own ultra-low carbon thin film PV modules using a fully integrated, continuous process under one roof.

In fact, the new factory will produce this solution at scale, to meet the needs of the growing market in the U.S. The aim is also to produce jobs; in this regard, the facility will directly create approximately 500 jobs.

Once built and ready, the facility will be one of the most advanced of its kind in the solar industry; allowing the company to produce an anticipated average of one module roughly every 2.75 seconds across its three-factory Ohio footprint.

Finally, the ultra-low carbon, thin film PV module technology of first solar was designed and developed by First Solar at its research and development (R&D) centers in California and Ohio. It set industry benchmarks for quality, durability, reliability, design, and environmental performance.

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