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19 August 2008


First Solar to expand manufacturing and development facilities in Ohio

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which manufactures thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe), plans to expand both its manufacturing operations and its development facilities at its plant in Perrysburg, OH. The investment will add about 500,000 square feet of manufacturing, R&D and office space, and at least 134 new jobs to the current workforce of 700 in Perrysburg.

First Solar is collaborating with state and local leaders on a comprehensive incentive package for the two projects. The firm says that the incentives are central to its expansion plans in Ohio and are subject to approval by state and local authorities.

The expansion will add a fourth production line and reconfigure the original pilot line to bring the manufacturing facility to the same four-line configuration as the firm’s five other plants in Germany and Malaysia. The expansion should be completed in second-quarter 2010 and will increase the annual capacity at the Perrysburg facility to about 192MW (based on run rates for second-quarter 2008). In addition, First Solar will construct a separate facility to support increased development activities associated with its thin-film solar module manufacturing technology.

“Scaling our manufacturing capacity while taking advantage of existing infrastructure will incrementally lower the manufacturing cost per watt at a rate comparable to our lowest-cost facility in Malaysia,” says president Bruce Sohn. “The expansion of our operations in Ohio is a direct result of the outstanding achievements of our associates and a strong, ongoing partnership with state and local leaders,” he adds.

“This is a great example of how we can harness Ohio’s manufacturing base to become the Silicon Valley of alternative energy,” comment US Senators George Voinovich and Sherrod Brown.

“We are pleased to have had the opportunity to help them [First Solar] expand at each stage along the way,” says Wood County Economic Development Commission executive director Thomas Blaha. “They are the nucleus of our renewable energy strategy and we appreciate this most recent vote of confidence in our community,” he adds.

See related items:

First Solar grows 36% in Q2 and inaugurates first of four Malaysian plants

First Solar announces two solar projects with Southern California Edison

Thin film to take 28% of PV market by 2012

Thin-film solar market to reach 9GW in 2012

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