U.S.-based solar modules manufacturer First Solar has commenced the construction of a 3.3 GW module manufacturing facility in Ohio.
The facility will cost $680 million and is scheduled for operations in the first half of 2023. When fully operational, the facility is expected to scale the company’s Northwest Ohio footprint to a total annual capacity of 6 GWdc.
The facility is likely to create over 700 permanent jobs and 500 construction jobs. First Solar has invested over $2 billion in expanding its Ohio manufacturing presence.
First Solar claims it is unique among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers for being the only U.S.-headquartered company, which uses Cadmium Telluride semiconductor instead of crystalline silicon semiconductor.
First Solar is expected 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. The facility is also claimed to combine highly skilled workers with Industry 4.0 architecture, machine-to-machine communication, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things connectivity to produce a higher degree of automation, precision, and continuous improvement.
“Today, we’re leading the efforts to revitalize American solar manufacturing and secure critical clean energy supply chains because reliable access to competitive, efficient solar panels is essential to our country’s future. Solar panels are the next crude oil, and we cannot be beholden to adversarial nations for our supply,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar.
“First Solar’s new factory in Ohio is a model of President Biden’s vision for keeping America competitive by investing in clean energy and creating good jobs,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, who was present at the groundbreaking ceremony.
The 1.8 million square foot facility is expected to produce an enhanced thin-film PV module for the utility-scale solar market in the US, which is anticipated to have higher efficiency and wattage in a larger form factor. Rudolph Libbe, Inc, will construct the new facility.
First Solar recently announced that it would invest $684 million to set up a new, vertically integrated photovoltaic thin-film solar module manufacturing facility in India.
According to Mercom’s India Solar Market Leaderboard 2021, First Solar has supplied a total of 1.94 GW of solar modules to projects in India to date. India is the second-largest market for the company after North America.