First Solar announces plans to build new manufacturing plant in Northwest Ohio
First Solar, Inc. today announced plans to build a new solar module manufacturing facility near its existing Perrysburg, Ohio flagship plant. The factory is expected to create 500 new jobs in northwestern Ohio, and will produce the company’s advanced technology Series 6 thin film photovoltaic (PV) module.
The expansion plan calls for a 1 million square foot facility located in Lake Township, Ohio, a short distance from First Solar’s Perrysburg site, with construction expected to begin in mid-2018 and entering full production mode in late 2019 with an expected annualized capacity of 1.2GW. The plan is contingent on confirmation of state and
local incentive packages currently in negotiation.
“Strong demand in the U.S. for advanced solar technology, along with recent changes in U.S. corporate tax policies, have encouraged our decision to grow First Solar’s U.S. production operations,” said Mike Koralewski, First Solar’s Senior Vice President of Global Manufacturing. “State and local officials and JobsOhio have also worked with us to create a business-friendly environment that supported our objectives. These factors, combined with our own economies of scale in high tech manufacturing, make expanding U.S. operations an attractive, win-win opportunity.”
Koralewski said the capital investment for the expansion will be approximately $400 million, with a workforce of approximately 500 associates and an annual payroll of approximately $30 million. He also indicated First Solar has options for potential further manufacturing expansion in the future, depending on sustained U.S. demand
for advanced solar technology.
In 2017, the company invested $175 million into retooling the original Perrysburg plant for production of its new Series 6 product. This April, the facility re-started an idled Series 4 production line to meet continued demand for that product.
The flagship Perrysburg plant is the largest solar manufacturing facility in the United States, working with more than 250 U.S. suppliers and indirectly supporting more than 4,000 jobs across Ohio. First Solar was formed in 1999, and established its first manufacturing facility in Perrysburg. Full-scale commercial production of thin film photovoltaic solar modules began in 2002. With production facilities in the U.S., Malaysia and Vietnam, First Solar has sold more than 17GW of solar modules providing clean, renewable energy worldwide.