First Solar announced that it selected the Acadiana Regional Airport in Iberia Parish, Louisiana as the location for its previously announced fifth fully vertically integrated manufacturing facility in the United States.
The facility, believed to be the single largest capital investment in the area’s history, represents an investment of up to $1.1 billion in expanding America’s capacity to produce its own photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. Expected to be completed in the first half of 2026, the facility is forecast to grow the company’s nameplate manufacturing capacity by 3.5 gigawatts (GW) to reach approximately 14 GW in the U.S. in 2026.
First Solar’s investment in Louisiana is expected to create over 700 new direct manufacturing jobs in the state. The company, already believed to be the largest employer in America’s solar manufacturing sector with over 2,500 employees across the country, expects to have over 4,000 direct employees in the country by 2026, including 850 new manufacturing jobs expected to be created in Alabama and Ohio and over 100 new R&D jobs planned in Ohio.
First Solar is unique among the world’s 10 largest solar manufacturers for being the only U.S.-headquartered company and not manufacturing in China. The company’s tellurium-based semiconductor, which allows it to avoid any dependence on Chinese crystalline silicon supply chains, is the second most common photovoltaic technology available today.
Since the start of this decade, First Solar has embarked on a $4.1 billion manufacturing expansion strategy that has seen it grow from approximately 6 GW of global nameplate capacity in 2020 to 13 GW operational today, with approximately 12 GW of nameplate capacity expected to come online in the U.S. and India between the second half of 2023 and 2026.
In addition to the Louisiana facility, First Solar commissioned its third Ohio factory earlier this year and is expected to complete its new facility in Alabama and the expansion of its existing Ohio footprint in 2024. The company also expects its new facility in India to begin commercial production in the second half of this year. Additionally, the company is investing up to $370 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, which is expected to be completed next year.
The new Louisiana facility will produce First Solar’s Series 7 modules, which are expected to be manufactured with 100% U.S.-made components identified in the current domestic content guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
First Solar anticipates that once the new factory is completed and ramped, Series 7 modules will account for over two thirds of its annual domestic nameplate capacity. Series 7 modules currently produced at the company’s Ohio facility are already manufactured with U.S.-made glass and steel.