TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - First Solar in Perrysburg is introducing the release of its new 'Series 6' production line which is now up and running.
It's something the company started planning for about a year ago. The new production line is a little more than a mile long and is operated by about 650 people.
The company downsized in November of last year. First Solar laid off more than 400 employees due to global changes in the solar market. The company quickly realized it needed to rapidly accelerate newer technology. That's when the idea of a new production was born.
"We decided to start ramping down series four production and moved immediately into a leapfrog of the series six production that were making now," said Steve Krum, Director of Global Communications with First Solar Inc. "It was challenging. I mean we've been building series four here for years and years."
The company said series six modules offer a significant production cost reduction than previous ones. The new production lines are able to produce modules that are three times better in performance and efficiency.
"In the spring, we brought in about $170 million worth of capital improvements. It felt a little bit like a miracle, but it was a lot of decision planning and execution by the people that were here and understood the technology," explained Krum.
The company said this new look is a model for other production facilities around the world.
"We essentially have our proving ground here for what we do globally," said Krum.