First Solar to Invest up to $1.2 Billion in Scaling Production of American-Made Responsible Solar by 4.4 GW
First Solar Expects to be the Largest Employer in the US Solar Manufacturing Sector by 2025
Announces plan to invest up to $1 billion in new, 3.5 GWDC manufacturing facility in the US Southeast
Existing Northwest Ohio footprint to be expanded by 0.9 GWDC with $185 million upgrade
Expects to have over 3,000 direct employees in four states, while supporting an estimated 15,000 indirect and induced jobs by 2025
TEMPE, Ariz., Aug. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced that it plans to invest up to $1.2 billion in scaling production of American-made, responsibly-produced photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, directly supporting the country’s transition to a decarbonized future and enabling the fight against climate change. The investment is forecast to expand the company’s ability to produce American-made solar modules for the US solar market to over 10 gigawatts (GW)DC by 2025.
As part of its push to scale US production of solar modules, the company intends to build its fourth, fully vertically integrated domestic factory, with an annual capacity of 3.5 GWDC, in the US Southeast. First Solar, the only US-headquartered company among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers, expects to invest up to $1 billion in the new factory, which, contingent upon permitting and pending approval of various federal, state, regional, and local incentives, is expected to commence operations in 2025.
Additionally, the company will invest $185 million in upgrading and expanding its Northwest Ohio manufacturing footprint, currently the largest vertically-integrated complex of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, by 0.9 GWDC. As part of its plans, First Solar will invest in expanding the capacity of its two operating facilities in Perrysburg and Lake Township, Ohio, by 0.6 GWDC to 3.6 GWDC of annual Series 6 module capacity. The company will also expand its third Ohio factory, expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2023, to 3.5 GWDC of annual Series 7 module capacity. The expansion will increase First Solar’s total investment in its Ohio manufacturing facilities to over $3 billion, with a cumulative annual production capacity of over 7 GWDC by 2025.
First Solar estimates that the new investment will add at least 850 new manufacturing jobs, taking its total number of direct jobs in the US to over 3,000 people in four states by 2025, which is believed to make it the largest employer in the American solar manufacturing sector. By 2025, First Solar is also expected to support an estimated 15,000 indirect and induced jobs1 as a result of its ongoing and future manufacturing operations.
“In passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration has entrusted our industry with the responsibility of enabling America’s clean energy future and we must meet the moment in a manner that is both timely and sustainable,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “This investment is an important step towards achieving self-sufficiency in solar technology, which, in turn, supports America’s energy security ambitions, its deployment of solar at scale, and its ability to lead with innovation. We are proud of the fact that our manufacturing presence in the US is expected to directly and indirectly support over 18,000 jobs across the country by 2025, while our manufacturing investment will add an estimated $3.2 billion2 in value to the US economy, reflecting the impact of solar manufacturing on our country. We are investing in America’s future.”
On its last earnings call on July 28, 2022, First Solar announced a record bookings backlog of 44.3 GWDC. The company has seen demand for its advanced thin film photovoltaic solar modules driven by its ability to provide its customers and partners with long-term supply certainty, lower political and compliance risk, and access to its best available technology through its agile contracting approach.
Widmar added, “While we have made no decisions at this time, we continue to evaluate further investments in incremental capacity and could announce further expansion plans in the future. Any such decision would be developed on a solid foundation of strong demand, a repeatable vertically integrated manufacturing template, a proven technology platform, and a robust balance sheet.”
Designed and developed at its R&D centers in California and Ohio, First Solar’s advanced thin film PV modules set industry benchmarks for quality, durability, reliability, design, and environmental performance. Each module features a layer of Cadmium Telluride (CadTel) semiconductor that is only three percent the thickness of a human hair. Additionally, the company continues to optimize the amount of semiconductor material used by enhancing its vapor deposition process through continued investment in R&D focused on more efficient module technology with a thinner semiconductor layer. First Solar also operates an advanced recycling program that provides closed-loop semiconductor recovery for use in new modules.
In addition to its Ohio manufacturing facilities, First Solar also operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia, and is building its first new manufacturing facility in India, which is scheduled to begin operations in the second half of 2023. On completion of its expansion plans in the United States and India, the company expects to have over 20 GWDC of annual global manufacturing capacity in 2025.
About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar is a leading American solar technology company and global provider of responsibly produced eco-efficient solar modules advancing the fight against climate change. Developed at R&D labs in California and Ohio, the company’s advanced thin film PV modules represent the next generation of solar technologies, providing a competitive, high-performance, lower-carbon alternative to conventional crystalline silicon PV modules. From raw material sourcing and manufacturing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s approach to technology embodies sustainability and a responsibility towards people and the planet. For more information, please visit www.firstsolar.com.
For First Solar Investors
This press release contains various “forward-looking statements” which are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning our plans to invest up to $1.2 billion in scaling production of our domestically-manufactured, responsibly-produced PV solar modules; our forecast that this investment will expand our ability to produce American-made solar modules for the US solar market to over 10 GWDC by 2025; our intention to build our fourth fully integrated domestic factory, with an annual capacity of 3.5 GWDC, in the US Southeast; our expectation to invest up to $1 billion in the new factory and commence operations in 2025; our plan to invest $185 million in upgrading and expanding our Northwest Ohio manufacturing footprint by 0.9 GWDC, which includes expanding the capacity of our two existing facilities to 3.6 GWDC of annual Series 6 module capacity and expanding our new factory in Ohio to 3.5 GWDC of annual Series 7 module capacity; our expectation that our total investment in our Ohio manufacturing facilities will be over $3 billion, and result in a cumulative annual production capacity of over 7 GWDC by 2025; our estimation that the new investment will add at least 850 new manufacturing jobs, taking our total number of direct jobs in the US to over 3,000 people in four states by 2025; our belief that this will make us the largest employer in the American solar manufacturing sector; our expectation to support an estimated 15,000 indirect and induced jobs in the US by 2025;our expectation that our manufacturing investment will add an estimated $3.2 billion in economic value by 2025; our plan to establish a new manufacturing facility in India and when the facility is expected to begin operations; our expectation to have over 20 GWDC of annual global manufacturing capacity by 2025; and our potential plans to announce further expansion in the future. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as “estimate,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “seek,” “believe,” “forecast,” “foresee,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “goal,” “target,” “might,” “will,” “could,” “predict,” “continue” and the negative or plural of these words and other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are only predictions based on First Solar’s current expectations and First Solar’s projections about future events and therefore speak only as of the date of this release. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. First Solar undertakes no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements for any reason, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause First Solar’s actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the matters discussed under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and our subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, as supplemented by our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
1 Assuming five workers added in the overall US economy for every one manufacturing job (Source: National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), using 2020 IMPLAN data)
2 Assuming economic impact multiplier of $2.68 per $1.00 spent on manufacturing (Source: NAM, using 2020 IMPLAN data)
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