First Solar’s expansion news keeps rolling right along. This week, the company selected the Acadiana Regional Airport in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, for its previously announced fifth vertically integrated manufacturing facility in the United States. The new Louisiana facility will produce First Solar’s Series 7 modules.
First Solar says the ~$1.1 billion facility will be the single largest capital investment in the area’s history. The rest of First Solar’s U.S. manufacturing footprint sits in Alabama and Ohio. First Solar’s tellurium-based semiconductor allows it to avoid any dependence on Chinese crystalline silicon supply chains.
“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,” stated Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar.
Timeline | 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 GW to reach approximately 14 GW in the United States in 2026.
Product updates | 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. 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.
Global capacity | First Solar is in the midst of $4.1 billion manufacturing expansion strategy that has led to 13 GW of capacity 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.
Expansion updates | 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.
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