First Solar to Build Panel Factory in Ohio

One of the nation’s greatest solar-energy corporations mentioned on Wednesday that it could double manufacturing in the United States by opening a 3rd plant in Ohio by the center of 2023.

The firm, First Solar, mentioned it could make investments $680 million to construct a brand new plant in Lake Township, Ohio, which is about an hour south of Cleveland, the place it already has a plant. The mission is predicted to add 500 jobs to the corporate’s roster of 1,600 staff in the United States.

“We have said that we stand ready to support President Biden’s goal to transition America to a clean, energy-secure future, and our decision to more than double our U.S. manufacturing capacity with this new facility is First Solar making good on that commitment,” Mark Widmar, the corporate’s chief government, mentioned in an announcement. “This facility will represent a significant leap forward in photovoltaics manufacturing, a true factory of the future.”

Mr. Biden desires to remove greenhouse gasoline emissions from the electrical grid by 2035, an formidable purpose that may contain remaking the vitality trade. The president has promised that the transition to cleaner vitality would create tens of millions of latest jobs, a declare that some critics have mentioned is far-fetched.

Over the final decade or so, most photo voltaic panel manufacturing has moved to China and different Asian international locations the place labor prices have a tendency to be so much decrease than in the United States. That has been irritating to Democratic lawmakers who’ve embraced solar energy but additionally need extra home manufacturing jobs.

But First Solar, which relies in Tempe, Ariz., and a few different corporations have in latest years expanded manufacturing in the United States. In 2019, the Korean firm Hanwha Q CELLS opened a plant in Dalton, Ga., and the Chinese agency JinkoSolar opened a manufacturing unit in Jacksonville, Fla.

In addition to the operations in Lake Township, First Solar additionally has a plant in the Toledo space. The firm’s panels are totally different from the extra extensively used silicon crystalline fashions. First Solar’s panels are created from a skinny movie semiconductor (not a skinny movie silicon materials as was earlier reported right here) and are usually used in massive photo voltaic farms that offer energy straight to the electrical grid relatively than on residential rooftops.

First Solar mentioned its new plant ought to assist it additional scale back prices and permit American-made panels to compete extra successfully with these produced in China. A pointy drop in the price of photo voltaic panels during the last 10 years has made them one of many least costly methods to generate electrical energy, far cheaper in some instances than energy vegetation that burn coal and pure gasoline.