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First Solar plans new manufacturing plant

Posted By: The Toledo Blade on July 27, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

Solar power equipment manufacturer First Solar, which operates three northwest Ohio plants, will open its fifth American factory in 2026 at a location to be determined, the company said Thursday.

Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar Inc.’s announcement comes as it continues to develop plans to expand the existing Ohio facilities’ manufacturing capacity and create a research and design innovation center near its current facility in Perrysburg Township.

The company expects that Ohio will see about 100 new research and design jobs at the Perrysburg facility, which will open in 2024.

In a statement to investors Thursday, First Solar cited its “plan to upgrade and expand” its “northwest Ohio manufacturing footprint.” It also mentioned its “intention to invest up to $370 million” in the dedicated Perrysburg research and design innovation center.

It is unclear how many manufacturing jobs will be coming to the region through the fifth factory, but the company stated in a written announcement Thursday that Ohio and Alabama will see a total of about 850 new manufacturing jobs after ongoing facilities projects are completed.

In November First Solar announced it had selected Lawrence County, in northern Alabama, as the site of its fourth manufacturing facility in the country. That plant is expected to open in 2025.

Expansions are taking place at all three manufacturing facilities in northwest Ohio, First Solar’s communications consultant Steve Kerekes confirmed. The company plans to complete all three expansions by the end of 2024. Other than the facility in Perrysburg Township, there are two facilities in Lake Township, the newest of which opened earlier this year.

First Solar currently employs 2,500 people in the United States, and it will employ about 4,000 Americans in total once the fifth plant opens.

The new plant announced Thursday is valued at $1.1 billion and would produce photovoltaic solar modules, while employing about 700 people.

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