Tempe, Ariz., March 18, 2011 — First Solar will build its new U.S. manufacturing center in Mesa, Ariz. First Solar will invest about $300 million in the factory, which will create about 600 jobs and will include four manufacturing lines with a capacity to produce more than 250 MW of advanced thin-film photovoltaic modules per year.
The new factory, in combination with First Solar's recently expanded facility in Perrysburg, Ohio, will increase First Solar's U.S. production capacity to more than 500 MW per year.
Construction will begin in the second quarter of 2011 and is expected to last a year, creating an average of 400-500 construction jobs. Module shipments are scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2012.
The facility is located on a 135-acre site that was previously home to a General Motors vehicle testing facility and is designed to accommodate future expansion. The facility will include a 3 MW rooftop solar installation as well as an extensive ground-mounted PV testing facility.
The factory will utilize First Solar's continuous manufacturing process, which transforms a sheet of glass into a complete solar module in less than 2.5 hours, which contributes to the industry-leading energy payback time and low carbon footprint of systems utilizing First Solar's thin-film modules.
The new Mesa facility is about 30 minutes from First Solar's corporate headquarters in Tempe, Ariz., where it employs about 200 associates. First Solar also is currently building two utility-scale PV projects in Arizona, the 290 MW Agua Caliente project in Yuma County for NRG Energy and the 17 MW Paloma Solar Plant in Gila Bend for APS, which are expected to create more than 500 construction jobs.