First Solar is the largest solar panel manufacturer based in the United States and currently has three operating factories. The company announced a fourth on Tuesday. Photo by LCEC/Pixabay
Aug. 30 (UPI) — The nation’s largest solar panel maker announced Tuesday that it will invest up to $1 billion to build a fourth new factory in the Southeast.
First Solar, the largest US developer of green energy panels, said the plan directly supports “the country’s transition to a carbon-free future and the fight against climate change.”
A key factor in the plan, the company said, is the new Inflation Reduction Act – a sweeping legislative package that will stimulate domestic manufacturing. Congress passed the bill and President Joe Biden signed it into law last week.
“In passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration entrusted our industry with the responsibility of securing America’s clean energy future, and we must rise to the occasion in a timely and sustainable manner,” First Solar CEO Mark Widmar said in a statement.
“This investment is an important step toward self-sufficiency in solar technology, which in turn supports America’s ambitions for energy security, large-scale solar deployment, and leadership in innovation.”
First Solar estimates its factory project will create about 850 manufacturing jobs.
The company also said it plans to invest $185 million to expand its manufacturing facility in northwest Ohio.
“First Solar will invest in expanding the capacity of its two operational facilities in Perrysburg and Lake Township,” the company said in a statement. “The company will also expand a third Ohio factory, which is expected to be operational in the first half of 2023.
“The expansion will increase First Solar’s total investment in Ohio manufacturing facilities to more than $3 billion.”
The Inflation Reduction Act includes billions in funding to fight climate change and aims to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% by the end of the 2020s. Some experts have said that this law is the most effective environmental protection law in recent times.