14 October 2010


First Solar to build manufacturing plants in US & Vietnam totaling nearly 500MW in annual capacity

To help it to meet what it describes as strong demand, First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, has announced plans to build two new four-line manufacturing plants that will boost its annual manufacturing capacity by nearly 500MW.

The plants are expected to be built in the USA and Vietnam and completed in 2012. Each should create about 600 new jobs and be designed to accommodate additional production capacity. Negotiations and site assessments are ongoing in both countries and will be finalized and announced at a later date.

The new factories will further extend First Solar’s previously announced capacity additions, including eight lines at its facility in Kulim, Malaysia, four lines in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, and two lines in Blanquefort, France. Earlier this year the firm also completed an expansion of its manufacturing plant in Perrysburg, OH, USA, which serves as its primary hub for engineering, R&D, and employs more than 1100 of the firm's 1500+ US-based associates. The two newly announced plants, combined with these previously announced expansions, will nearly double production capacity from 1.4GW in 2010 to more than 2.7GW in 2012.

“These expansions provide proximity to growing US demand while supporting our roadmap to drive down the cost of clean, sustainable solar electricity,” says CEO Rob Gillette. “Effective government policies provide long-term visibility and enable sustainable markets,” he adds.

In addition to the increase in manufacturing employment, First Solar expects to generate more than 1000 construction jobs through the installation of solar power plants from the firm’s 2.2GW North American project pipeline.

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