The US’s largest solar panel maker to spend $1.1B on its 5th factory [update]

First Solar, the largest solar panel maker in the US, today announced that it will invest $1.1 billion to build a fifth US solar panel production factory.

August 10: First Solar announced today that it has selected the Acadiana Regional Airport in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, as the location for its fifth solar panel production factory in the US. It’s expected to create over 700 new direct manufacturing jobs in the state, and First Solar says it’s “believed to be the single largest capital investment in the area’s history.”

Governor John Bel Edwards (D-LA) said, “This massive investment and the jobs it will create are a huge win for the people of Acadiana and the entire state.”


July 27: The planned factory, which will be vertically integrated, is expected to grow First Solar’s nameplate manufacturing capacity by 3.5 gigawatts (GW) to reach approximately 14 GW in the US and 25 GW globally in 2026.

First Solar has not yet determined where its fifth factory will be located, but it’s expected to come online the first half of 2026.

The new site will produce First Solar’s Series 7 modules, which are expected to be manufactured with all Made in the USA components in order to comply with the Inflation Reduction Act’s domestic requirements.

Series 7 modules currently manufactured at the company’s Ohio factory already feature US-made glass and steel. The largest solar panel maker in the US anticipates that once its fifth factory is fully up and running, then its Series 7 modules will account for over two-thirds of its annual domestic nameplate capacity.

Mark Widmar, chief executive officer of First Solar, said:

This decision is underpinned by robust fundamentals, including an order backlog of approximately 78 gigawatts, the industry’s strongest balance sheet, a repeatable vertically integrated manufacturing template, and a proven technology platform.

With this investment, we continue to help deliver on the promise of the Inflation Reduction Act, which is to create enduring value for our country. 

Photo: First Solar

Read more: Rivian and partners are turning a huge Kentucky coal mine into an 800 MW solar farm


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