First Solar to invest $270 million in Perrysburg research center
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - First Solar announced Thursday that it is investing $270 million in a dedicated research and development innovation center in Perrysburg.
First Solar says this new facility is believed to be the first of its scale in the United States and is expected to accelerate American leadership in the development and production of advanced thin film photovoltaics. It will also feature a high-tech pilot manufacturing line allowing for the production of full-sized prototypes of thin film and tandem PV models.
“With a record shipment backlog and consistent demand for our modules, we face the twin challenges of optimizing existing and planned production capacity to deliver on our commitments, while ensuring that our technology roadmap does not lose momentum,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar.
First Solar currently operates a dual purpose manufacturing line at its Perrysburg facility, which handles both commercial production of solar modules and the company’s product development efforts. According to First Solar, the line cannot handle both activities simultaneously.
“We expect that this new facility will play a pivotal role in solidifying America’s leadership in the development and responsible production of high performance thin film photovoltaic semiconductors,” said Markus Gloeckler, chief technology officer, First Solar. “This facility will be designed with the future in mind and we expect that it will directly enable the next generation of advanced photovoltaics.”
According to spokesperson Reuven Proenca, First Solar will add about 100 jobs for the new facility as well as 100 more manufacturing jobs in the next couple years in northwest Ohio.
First Solar says upon approval, the 1.3 million square-foot facility is expected to be completed in 2024 and will be located near First Solar’s existing solar module manufacturing plant.
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D) released the following statement on the First Solar investment:
“With the Inflation Reduction Act providing new federal support for an all-of-the-above American energy strategy, the global leader in solar innovation is getting even bigger – all right here in Northwest Ohio,” said Rep. Kaptur. “First Solar’s $270 million investment in a state-of-the-art research and development center means new, good-paying jobs in our region’s growing energy manufacturing sector. As America looks ahead toward the future of energy development, Northwest Ohio will serve as the hub and our workers as the craftsmen.”
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