Louisiana manufacturing plant will create over 700 new direct manufacturing jobs in the state
First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today broke ground on a previously announced manufacturing facility in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, its fifth fully vertically integrated factory in the United States. The ceremony was attended by the Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, and other dignitaries from the state.
The facility, believed to be the largest capital investment in the area's history, represents an investment of approximately $1.1 billion in expanding America's capacity to produce photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Expected to start commercial shipments by the first half of 2026, the facility is forecast to grow the company's nameplate manufacturing capacity by 3.5 gigawatts (GW) to reach approximately 14 GW in the US and 25 GW globally in 2026.
When completed, the fully vertically integrated manufacturing facility will cover over two million square feet and is designed to transform a sheet of glass into a ready-to-ship Series 7 module in approximately 4.5 hours, producing over one dozen new Louisiana-made solar panels every minute.
"This is a historic day for Iberia Parish and Louisiana as we celebrate this record-breaking investment and the hundreds of good-paying jobs it will create," Gov. John Bel Edwards said. "First Solar choosing our state for its newest solar panel production facility solidifies Louisiana's place as a leader in the global energy transition. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this day happen, and we are all proud to welcome First Solar to Louisiana."
First Solar's investment in Louisiana is expected to create over 700 new direct manufacturing jobs in the state. The company, already believed to be the largest employer in America's solar manufacturing sector, with more than 2,500 employees across the country, expects to have over 4,000 direct employees in the US by 2026.
"As America's solar company, we are proud to welcome Louisiana to the largest solar manufacturing footprint in the Western Hemisphere," said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. "This facility, like its sister facilities in Ohio and Alabama, represents First Solar's investment in our country's future. We are creating enduring value for the US by building a robust solar manufacturing base and the value chains that enable it. This delivers jobs and economic value today, and establishes the foundations needed for the country to enter the next decade with a secure supply of solar energy technology."
Since the start of this decade, First Solar has embarked on a $4.1 billion manufacturing expansion strategy that has seen it grow from approximately 6 GW of global nameplate capacity in 2020 to 13 GW operational today, with approximately 12 GW of nameplate capacity expected to come online in the US and India between the second half of 2023 and 2026. In addition to the Louisiana facility, First Solar commissioned its third Ohio factory earlier this year and is expected to complete its new facility in Alabama and the expansion of its existing Ohio footprint in 2024. The company also expects its new facility in India to begin commercial production in the fourth quarter of this year. Additionally, the company is investing up to $370 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, which is expected to be completed next year.
Rudolph Libbe, Inc., will serve as the general contractor for the project and has already engaged with Lafayette-headquartered LEMOINE to assist with early site work. The new facility is expected to create 500 construction jobs in Louisiana over the next 18 months.
About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar is a leading American solar technology company and global provider of responsibly produced eco-efficient solar modules advancing the fight against climate change. Developed at R&D labs in California and Ohio, the company's advanced thin film PV modules represent the next generation of solar technologies, providing a competitive, high-performance, lower-carbon alternative to conventional crystalline silicon PV modules. From raw material sourcing and manufacturing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar's approach to technology embodies sustainability and a responsibility towards people and the planet. For more information, please visit www.firstsolar.com.
For First Solar Investors
This press release contains various "forward-looking statements" which are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning 1) our intention to invest up to $1.1 billion in a new 3.5 GW manufacturing facility in Iberia Parish, Louisiana; 2) our expectation that this new facility will be completed in the first half of 2026, add over 700 new direct jobs and will produce First Solar's new Series 7 module; 3) our forecast that our manufacturing footprint will grow to approximately 14 GW in the US and 25 GW globally in 2026; 4) our previously announced investment in a new manufacturing facility in Alabama and our expectation that this facility will be commissioned by late 2024; 5) our plan to upgrade and expand our Northwest Ohio manufacturing footprint by approximately 0.9 GW by 2024; 6) our intention to invest up to $370 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio and our expectation that this innovation center will be comissioned in 2024; and 7) our expectation that our new manufacturing facility in India will commence commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2023. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as "estimate," "expect," "anticipate," "project," "plan," "intend," "seek," "believe," "forecast," "foresee," "likely," "may," "should," "goal," "target," "might," "will," "could," "predict," "continue" and the negative or plural of these words and other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are only predictions based on First Solar's current expectations and First Solar's projections about future events and therefore speak only as of the date of this release. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. First Solar undertakes no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements for any reason, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause First Solar's actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the matters discussed under the captions "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and our subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, as supplemented by our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.