Construction on the third First Solar Ohio solar PV production facility has begun. The US$680 million facility will be a 3.3 GW facility and will likely begin operation in the first half of 2023. The Ohio facility will increase First Solar’s Northwest Ohio footprint to a total annual capacity of 6 GW, becoming the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing complex outside Asia. The facility has the potential to create over 500 construction jobs and 700 permanent jobs. First Solar produces its thin-film PV modules using a fully integrated, continuous process under one roof, unique to the company as it is the only US-headquartered company that does not use crystalline silicon (c-Si) semiconductor or manufacture in China.
The Ohio solar PV production facility will allow the company to produce an anticipated average of one module roughly every 2.75 seconds across its three-factory Ohio footprint once it achieves its full production capacity and will also combine highly skilled workers with Industry 4.0 architecture, artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, and Internet of Things connectivity to produce a higher degree of automation, continuous improvement, and precision.
“Today, we’re leading the efforts to revitalize American solar manufacturing and secure critical clean energy supply chains because reliable access to competitive, efficient solar panels is essential to our country’s future. Solar panels are the next crude oil, and we cannot be beholden to adversarial nations for our supply. We’re scaling US cleantech innovation by investing in R&D, ensuring that a uniquely American solar technology that was developed right here in Ohio remains competitively advantaged. And we’re taking it a step further by producing the next generation of solar panels designed and made in the USA for the American solar industry,” said the chief executive officer, First Solar, Mark Widmar.