BATON ROUGE, La. & TEMPE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced that it has selected the Acadiana Regional Airport in Iberia Parish, Louisiana as the location for its previously announced fifth fully vertically integrated manufacturing facility in the United States. The facility, believed to be the single largest capital investment in the area’s history, represents an investment of up to $1.1 billion in expanding America’s capacity to produce its own photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. Expected to be completed in the first half of 2026, the facility is forecast to grow the company’s nameplate manufacturing capacity by 3.5 gigawatts (GW) to reach approximately 14 GW in the US in 2026.
First Solar’s investment in Louisiana is expected to create over 700 new direct manufacturing jobs in the state. The company, already believed to be the largest employer in America’s solar manufacturing sector with over 2,500 employees across the country, expects to have over 4,000 direct employees in the country by 2026, including 850 new manufacturing jobs expected to be created in Alabama and Ohio and over 100 new R&D jobs planned in Ohio.
“First Solar’s selection of Iberia Parish for its newest solar panel production facility leaves no doubt that Louisiana is leading the global energy transition, and creating good-paying jobs as a result,” said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said. “This massive investment and the jobs it will create are a huge win for the people of Acadiana and the entire state. It is proof positive that Louisiana’s ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to energy is growing and diversifying our economy. Thank you to everyone who made this day a reality, and a special thank-you to First Solar for trusting Louisiana to be part of their mission to create a more sustainable future.”
First Solar is unique among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers for being the only US-headquartered company and not manufacturing in China. The company’s tellurium-based semiconductor, which allows it to avoid any dependence on Chinese crystalline silicon supply chains, is the second most common photovoltaic technology available today.
“We are pleased to partner with Louisiana as we lean into our commitment to creating enduring value for America by expanding our solar manufacturing footprint and the domestic value chains that enable it,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “As we evaluated our options, Louisiana’s ability to deliver the talent we need stood out, thanks to its extensive workforce development initiatives and the presence of academic institutions such as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette which now features a world-class solar energy lab.”
Widmar added, “In bringing our unique, fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing model to Louisiana, we expect the plant to mirror the commitment to Responsible Solar evident at every First Solar manufacturing facility, which are among the cleanest, safest, and most diverse in the industry. We are proud that our investment in American manufacturing will create stable, good-paying manufacturing jobs and economic and social value in the state.”
Since the start of this decade, First Solar has embarked on a $4.1 billion manufacturing expansion strategy that has seen it grow from approximately 6 GW of global nameplate capacity in 2020 to 13 GW operational today, with approximately 12 GW of nameplate capacity expected to come online in the US and India between the second half of 2023 and 2026. In addition to the Louisiana facility, First Solar commissioned its third Ohio factory earlier this year and is expected to complete its new facility in Alabama and the expansion of its existing Ohio footprint in 2024. The company also expects its new facility in India to begin commercial production in the second half of this year. Additionally, the company is investing up to $370 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, which is expected to be completed next year.
The new Louisiana facility will produce First Solar’s Series 7 modules, which are expected to be manufactured with 100% US-made components identified in the current domestic content guidance issued by the US Department of Treasury. First Solar anticipates that once the new factory is completed and ramped, Series 7 modules will account for over two thirds of its annual domestic nameplate capacity. Series 7 modules currently produced at the company’s Ohio facility are already manufactured with US-made glass and steel.
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 1) our intention to invest up to $1.1 billion in a new 3.5 GW manufacturing facility in Iberia Parish, Louisiana; 2) our expectation that this new facility will be completed in the first half of 2026, add over 700 new direct jobs and will produce First Solar’s new Series 7 module; 3) our expectation that the Series 7 module produced at this new facility will be manufactured with 100% US-made components identified in the current domestic content guidance issued by the US Department of Treasury; 4) our forecast that our manufacturing footprint will grow to approximately 14 GW in the US and 25 GW globally in 2026; 5) our previously announced investment in a new manufacturing facility in Alabama and our expectation that this facility will be commissioned by late 2024; 6) our plan to upgrade and expand our Northwest Ohio manufacturing footprint by approximately 0.9 GW by 2024; 7) our intention to invest up to $370 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio and our expectation that this innovation center will be comissioned in 2024; and 8) our expectation that our new manufacturing facility in India will commence commercial operations in the second half of 2023. 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.