TOLEDO, Ohio — First Solar's growing northwest Ohio footprint is receiving nearly $200 million in additional investment to increase manufacturing capacity.
The Arizona-based solar panel manufacturer announced Tuesday it is investing $1.2 billion into production of American-made solar modules, including $185 million into its operations in Perrysburg and Lake Township. The two existing facilities comprise the largest vertically-integrated complex of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, and will now expand by 0.9 gigawatts (GWDC).
A third facility - which is adjacent to the existing plant in Lake Township - began construction last year and is expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2023 and running at full capacity by 2025.
First Solar said the Inflation Reduction Act was a catalyst for the additional funding, which will benefit and expand all three of its northwest Ohio facilities.
"In passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration has entrusted our industry with the responsibility of enabling America’s clean energy future and we must meet the moment in a manner that is both timely and sustainable,” First Solar CEO Mark Widmar said. “This investment is an important step towards achieving self-sufficiency in solar technology, which, in turn, supports America’s energy security ambitions, its deployment of solar at scale, and its ability to lead with innovation."
The additional funding will expand the Perrysburg and Lake Township plants by 0.6 GWDC to 3.6 GWDC of annual Series 6 module capacity. The second Lake Township plant will expand to 3.5 GWDC of annual Series 7 module capacity.
First Solar's total investment in Ohio is now over $3 billion with a total annual production capacity of over 7 GWDC by 2025.
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, applauded the investment.
"I am leading the fight for American energy manufacturing and an all of the above energy strategy to bring good-paying jobs and economic growth to our region,” Kaptur said. “America’s energy future will be built right here in the heartland, and First Solar’s $185 million investment in northwest Ohio is just the beginning. From the Defense Production Act to the Inflation Reduction Act, I will work with anyone – Republican or Democrat – and pull every lever to invest in Ohio’s workers and Ohio’s companies.”
The company also announced Tuesday it will build a new $1 billion factory in the southeastern United States, but did not specify a location. Operations are expected to commence in 2025.
First Solar expects the new investment to add 850 new manufacturing jobs, bringing its total number of U.S. manufacturing employees over 3,000.
First Solar announced a record bookings backlog of 44.3 GWDC at its most recent earnings call in July. The company has seen demand soar in the last few years.
"We are proud of the fact that our manufacturing presence in the U.S. is expected to directly and indirectly support over 18,000 jobs across the country by 2025, while our manufacturing investment will add an estimated $3.2 billion in value to the U.S. economy, reflecting the impact of solar manufacturing on our country," Widmar said. "We are investing in America’s future.”