First Solar says plant will be operating by 2023

Larry Limpf

First Solar, Inc. expects its next facility in Lake Township to commence operations in the first half of 2023.
The company announced last week it plans to invest $680 million to expand its domestic photovoltaic solar manufacturing capacity by constructing a 1.8 million-square-foot facility in the township – its third manufacturing plant in the U.S.
About 500 jobs are expected to be created once the plant is operating to produce an enhanced thin film photovoltaic module for the utility-scale solar market in the U.S.
The company said the new facility will be one of the most advanced of its kind in the solar industry, allowing First Solar to produce an anticipated average of one module about every 2.75 seconds across its three plants.
The additional capacity will also help mitigate challenges currently facing the global ocean freight market by reducing the trans-oceanic gap between international supply and domestic demand, the company said.
“This facility will represent a significant leap forward in photovoltaics manufacturing, a true factory of the future. It will leverage our advantaged position at the intersection of efficiency, energy yield, optimized form factor, and cost competitiveness, while leading our manufacturing fleet in delivering the highest efficiency and wattage, and the lowest cost per watt,” Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, said.
First Solar constructed a 1 million-square-foot solar module manufacturing facility at the Tracy Road site in the township next to where it plans to build its next plant. That plant began production in October 2019.
The company’s other U.S. plant is in Perrysburg Township.
The Rudolph Libbe Group will be the design/build contractor for the new facility. Work is expected to begin this summer on the project, which is expected to cre ate about 500 construction jobs.
“For nearly 20 years, First Solar has been a key member of our local business community,” Tim Alter, chief executive officer of Rudolph Libbe Group, said. “The Rudolph Libbe Group is honored to have a long relationship with them, starting with the construction of their first manufacturing facility and their first Lake Township manufacturing plant two years ago.”


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