- Planned facility is part of previously announced investment in scaling US manufacturing
- Investment of approximately $1.1 billion in 3.5 GWDC manufacturing facility in Lawrence County
- Expected to be commissioned by 2025, facility to create over 700 new direct manufacturing jobs
MONTGOMERY, Ala. and TEMPE, Ariz., Nov. 16, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced that it has selected Lawrence County, North Alabama, as the location for its fourth American photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility. The new factory is part of a previously announced investment in scaling First Solar’s American manufacturing footprint to over 10 gigawatts (GW)DC by 2025, and is expected to create over 700 new direct jobs in the state.
The planned factory in Lawrence County’s Mallard Fox Industrial Park represents an investment of approximately $1.1 billion and is expected to be commissioned by 2025, with a planned annual capacity of 3.5 GWDC. The new fully vertically integrated facility will join three factories in Ohio, including one that is scheduled to come online in the first half of 2023, to form part of First Solar’s expanded domestic manufacturing footprint.
“First Solar is a world-class manufacturer, and its solar modules are poised to play an increasingly important role in US energy self-sufficiency,” said Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey. “I’m thrilled to see the company’s growth project headed to Lawrence County because I know it will create good jobs and have a major economic impact on this rural region.”
The new facility is expected to advance a strategic push by the company to scale its US manufacturing base in support of the effort to decarbonize the American economy and achieve self-sufficiency in reliable and competitive renewable energy technologies.
“The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has firmly placed America on the path to a sustainable energy future,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “This facility, along with its sister factories in Ohio, will form part of the industrial foundation that helps ensure this transition is powered by American innovation and ingenuity.”
Designed and developed at its research and development (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.
Widmar added, “Our commitment to Responsible Solar includes operating facilities that are among the cleanest, safest, and most diverse in the country, and we’re pleased to bring our model of responsible solar manufacturing to Alabama. We are proud of the role that this facility will play in creating stable, good-paying manufacturing jobs in the state, demonstrating the economic and social value that clean energy can deliver.”
First Solar is unique among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers for being the only US-headquartered company and for not manufacturing in China, and its latest investment is expected to bring the company’s total investment in American manufacturing to over $4 billion.
“As it works to develop the next generation of solar technologies, First Solar represents the kind of innovative, technology-forward company that can help power Alabama’s economy into the future,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “This investment supports sustainability and advances America’s energy security — and it’s great news for Alabama.”
In addition to the new Alabama facility, the company previously announced that it is investing $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. In October this year, First Solar also announced that it plans to invest approximately $270 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio. The 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.
First Solar estimates that its new investments in Alabama and Ohio, now estimated at $1.3 billion, will add at least 850 new manufacturing and over 100 new R&D 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.
Tabitha Pace, president and chief executive officer of the Lawrence County Industrial Development Board, said, “Our team, from the State down to the local level, has worked extremely hard to make this project a reality. First Solar will have a tremendous impact on our economy and region. We look forward to building those relationships for a successful future.”
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) president and chief executive officer, Jeff Lyash, said, “First Solar and TVA share a commitment to sustainability and innovation, as well as supporting our local communities. As the nation’s largest solar panel manufacturer, First Solar is bringing hundreds of quality jobs to the region. We are proud of our partnership with Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Corp., the State of Alabama and other economic development agencies to help make North Alabama the region of choice for First Solar’s newest location.”
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 approximately $1.1 billion in a 3.5 GWDC manufacturing facility in Lawrence County, North Alabama; our expectation that this facility will be commissioned by 2025; our forecast that this facility is part of an investment that will scale our American manufacturing footprint to over 10 GWDC by 2025 and create over 700 new direct jobs in Alabama; our expectation that our third factory under construction in Ohio will come online in the first half of 2023; our expectation that this investment will bring the Company’s total investment in America to $4 billion; our plan to invest $185 million in upgrading and expanding our Northwest Ohio manufacturing footprint by 0.9 GWDC; our intention to invest approximately $270 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio; our estimation that the new investments will add at least 850 new manufacturing jobs and over 100 new R&D 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; and our expectation to support an estimated 15,000 indirect and induced jobs in the US by 2025. 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.
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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)
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/304f37ed-7859-4c14-8597-69b88badb291