First Solar to invest US$1.2Bn in USA

First Solar to invest US$1.2Bn in USA

First Solar has announced plans to invest in scaling US production of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. 

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The investment is forecast to expand the company’s ability to produce modules for the US solar market to over 10GW by 2025.  To achieve this, the company intends to build its fourth, vertically integrated domestic factory, with an annual capacity of 3.5GW, by 2025.  Additionally, the company will invest US$185M in upgrading and expanding its Ohio manufacturing operations, bringing total investment in its Ohio manufacturing facilities to over US$3Bn, with a cumulative annual production capacity of over 7GW by 2025.

The announcement is the latest large-scale energy transition investment in the USA and comes at a time when solar is very much in demand in the country.  First Solar, the only US-headquartered company among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers, noted on its latest earnings call that it had a record bookings backlog of 44.3 GW.  In an effort to address complaints from American clean energy producers that the domestic solar sector’s growth is being paralysed by supply chain issues, in June the White House confirmed that President Biden had waived tariffs on solar panels from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam for two years and invoked the Defense Production Act to boost critical supplies to American solar manufacturers.  Notably, in addition to its Ohio manufacturing facilities, First Solar also operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia and is building its first new manufacturing facility in India, which is scheduled to begin operations in H2 2023.

In its press release, First Solar referred to the Inflation Reduction Act which includes consumer tax credits for renewable energy investments in wind and solar.  The company noted that the Act signalled that the US Government has entrusted the solar industry “…with the responsibility of enabling America’s clean energy future” and that its investment represented “…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”.

  • 06 Sep 2022
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