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24 October 2019

First Solar becomes largest PV module maker in Western hemisphere

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has begun production at its new cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing facility in Lake Township, Ohio, its second factory in the USA. The firm continues to operate its flagship factory in Perrysburg, Ohio, effectively scaling its total annualized production capacity in the USA to 1.9GWDC.

Picture: First Solar’s new PV module manufacturing facility in Lake Township, Ohio.

First Solar’s expanded manufacturing footprint in the USA, which represents over $1bn in cumulative investment and directly created about 500 new jobs, makes it the largest solar manufacturer in the USA and the Western hemisphere, it is reckoned. The investment includes a new $265m TCO (transparent conductive oxide)-coated glass factory being built by the NSG Group in Troy Township, Ohio, its first new float glass line in the country since 1980.

“Eighteen months ago, we announced that we would expand our manufacturing footprint in the United States in response to demand,” says CEO Mark Widmar. “We were able to transform a greenfield site into a high-tech manufacturing facility in that time, and on time,” he adds.

“Its levels of automation, digitalization, machine learning, and artificial intelligence demonstrate that the ambitions of Industry 4.0 are not out of reach for the PV manufacturing industry,” says chief operating officer Tymen de Jong. “We are proud to have achieved it in Northwestern Ohio, the technological home of American solar.”

Picture: Production of First Solar’s Series 6 modules.

Both facilities produce First Solar’s Series 6 module technology. Designed and developed at the firm’s R&D centers in California and Ohio, the module is produced in just 3.5 hours using fully integrated manufacturing processes. Each large-format Series 6 module leverages First Solar’s proprietary thin film technology, retaining the proven performance and reliability advantages of earlier-generation modules. The carbon footprint is up to six times lower than crystalline silicon PV panels that are manufactured using conventional, energy-intensive production methods.

First Solar is also celebrating two decades since its founding in 1999, and 25GWDC of PV modules shipped, making it the only US solar module manufacturing company to achieve this milestone. First Solar also operates manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and Malaysia with a current global annualized manufacturing capacity of 6.7GWDC.

See related items:

First Solar sets 25GW milestone for thin-film solar as it celebrates 20th anniversary

First Solar to build new 1.2GW Series 6 module manufacturing plant, tripling US capacity

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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