Connie Black makes changes to the manufacturing line for the sequence 6 photo voltaic panels seen throughout a tour of a First Photo voltaic plant in Walbridge, Ohio, October 6, 2021.
Dane Rhys | Reuters
First Solar introduced Tuesday that it’s going to construct a brand new photo voltaic panel manufacturing facility within the U.S. on the heels of the Inflation Discount Act, which incentivizes domestic manufacturing.
The corporate will make investments as much as $1 billion within the new manufacturing unit, which it plans to construct within the Southeast of the U.S. The newly introduced plant would be the panel maker’s fourth totally built-in U.S. manufacturing unit.
First Photo voltaic additionally stated Tuesday that it’s going to spend $185 million upgrading and increasing its present amenities in Ohio.
CEO Mark Widmar pointed to the IRA as the important thing catalyst that made the corporate resolve to construct one other manufacturing unit within the U.S. fairly than trying elsewhere.
The funding packages create, for the primary time, a “long-term view and understanding of the trade, and insurance policies aligned to that trade,” he informed CNBC.
“With that stage of readability, we stepped again and evaluated the alternate options or the choices of the place we may go together with our subsequent manufacturing unit and after we checked out it comprehensively the U.S. was a really enticing possibility,” he stated.
Widmar added that that is the primary time the whole provide chain has been incentivized, from the producer to the producing asset and eventually to the tip buyer.
“With that sort of alignment, you may create partnerships and alternatives to develop collectively collectively and extra of a win-win sort of construction than perhaps we had earlier than the implementation of the IRA,” he stated.
First Photo voltaic stated the brand new manufacturing unit will manufacture 3.5 gigawatts of photo voltaic modules yearly by 2025, with the corporate’s Ohio amenities posting cumulative annual manufacturing capability of over 7 GW by 2025.
By comparability, the U.S. added 3.9 GW of photo voltaic capability in the course of the first quarter of 2022, in response to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The nation’s whole photo voltaic trade now stands at 126.1 GW, which is sufficient to energy 22 million houses, according to SEIA.
Shares of First Photo voltaic have surged 65% for the reason that finish of July when Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V. introduced their shock settlement on the local weather, well being care and tax invoice.
The laws, which swiftly handed the Home and Senate and was signed into law by President Joe Biden, advantages First Photo voltaic in a number of methods, together with by way of the manufacturing tax credit score for home producers. First Photo voltaic is the most important U.S.-based developer of photo voltaic panels, with a deal with utility-scale panels.
The manufacturing unit announcement comes as First Photo voltaic struggles to maintain tempo with booming demand. Throughout its second quarter earnings name, First Photo voltaic stated it is offered out by way of 2025, with a backlog of 44 GW.
Widmar stated First Photo voltaic desires to maneuver rapidly when constructing out its new manufacturing unit. One of many firm’s issues is a web site that is as near shovel-ready as potential. Different elements embrace the sort and availability of employees within the space.
First Photo voltaic is aiming to have recognized the location by the tip of the present quarter.
“I believe the trade is in the most effective place it ever has been…for development past any expectations that anybody would have envisioned,” Widmar stated.