First Solar breaks ground on Ohio manufacturing plant
- First Solar has begun construction on a manufacturing facility in northwestern Ohio that is expected to be fully operational late next year. The plant will be capable of producing solar modules with a total of 1.2 GW capacity annually.
- The plant will be located not far from First Solar's Perrysburg, Ohio, flagship plant, and will give the company the capacity to produce a total of 1.8 GW in panels each year. First Solar is the largest solar panel manufacturer in the country.
- Last year First Solar joined the fight over solar tariffs, filing a statement with the U.S. International Trade Commission in support of Suniva and SolarWorld's request for import relief. Ultimately President Trump implemented 30% tariffs on imported crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules and cells.
First Solar cited two reasons for the expansion, more than doubling the company's output: along with higher solar demand, it pointed to changes in the corporate tax rate. Combined with the tariff decision six months ago, the solar company has benefited from the Trump Administration's decisions.
The expansion will cost $400 million, with a workforce of approximately 500 associates and an annual payroll of approximately $30 million. The company said via a statement it "has options for potential further manufacturing expansion in the future," depending on domestic demand for panels.
First Solar says it has invested approximately $3 billion in Ohio since the company's inception, and state and local officials have worked with the company to create a "business-friendly environment."
While renewables are expected to continue growing, last year the solar industry lost 24,000 jobs — about 6% of the workforce — as the industry installed about 30% less in 2017 than it had the year before.
- The Toledo Blade First Solar breaks ground on $400 million plant in Wood County
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