22 August 2011

First Solar dedicates Mesa factory site

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which makes thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, has dedicated its factory site in Mesa, AZ.

Picture: CEO Rob Gillette and Mesa vice mayor Scott Somers unveil a ceremonial marker commemorating construction progress for the new factory, while Barry Broome, president & CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, looks on.

The firm also announced that Todd Spangler has been appointed site director & general manager of the Mesa factory, having previously served as general manager of First Solar's factory in Perrysburg, OH. Mike Koralewski will succeed Spangler as manager of the Perrysburg facility, and was appointed VP of site operations & plant manager.

Representatives from the city of Mesa and First Solar officials hosted a reception at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Mesa to celebrate construction progress. Vice mayor Scott Somers, Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) president & CEO Barry Broome, and Tom Alston, Solar Outreach and Policy Coordinator for US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, also took part.

"First Solar coming to Mesa is an important step to establish Arizona as a major player in the solar and clean energy industry. This cutting-edge facility brings hundreds of new high-tech jobs to the East Valley and adds to the ongoing development of the Gateway area," said mayor Scott Smith. "Projects like this don't happen without the cooperation between the private and public sectors, region and state. I'd like to thank those partners, especially First Solar and DMB, for working together to bring this facility to the Mesa Proving Grounds," he added. 

"Our Mesa factory has progressed from an idea to advanced construction in just a few short months, which would not have been possible without the support and hard work of countless state and local officials. Today we dedicate this site to the many people and agencies that helped make it happen, both public and private," commented First Solar’s CEO Rob Gillette. "The US is our fastest-growing market, and the additional production capacity from this factory will help us meet growing demand for clean, locally produced solar electricity."

The Mesa factory is expected to begin producing modules by third-quarter 2012 and will employ about 600 full-time associates. First Solar is investing just over $300m in the four-line factory, which will produce about 250MW of thin-film modules per year.

Output is expected to be used in the construction of First Solar's 2600MW North American project pipeline, which includes the 290MW Agua Caliente project in Yuma County, AZ. When fully operational in 2014, Agua Caliente will generate enough energy to serve the needs of about 100,000 average homes per year, displacing about 220,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (the equivalent of taking about 40,000 cars off the road). Output from the Mesa factory is also expected to be used in First Solar's California projects, including the 550MW Topaz project, 230MW Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One, and the 550MW Desert Sunlight project.

Todd Spangler joined First Solar in February 2007 as director of manufacturing. In December 2008, he was promoted to plant manager of the Perrysburg campus. Prior to joining First Solar, he managed multiple plants and distribution centers for lighting controls firm Lutron Electronics.

Mike Koralewski has been with First Solar since August 2006, leading global quality and product reliability initiatives. Prior to First Solar, he was employed by Dana Corp for 10 years in quality functions throughout different business units.

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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