First Solar: second US solar module facility

Mesa, Arizona will, according to First Solar Inc., become the site of its second US solar module plant. The company said it expects to invest USD 300 million in the plant, which will employ about 600 …

Mesa, Arizona will, according to First Solar Inc., become the site of its second US solar module plant. The company said it expects to invest USD 300 million in the plant, which will employ about 600 people on completion. Construction on the plant, which will utilize a continuous manufacturing process that converts sheets of glass into a complete solar module in less than 2.5 hours, will begin in the second quarter of 2011 and is expected to last a year. Once completed, the new facility will have four manufacturing lines with an annual production capacity of more than 250 megawatts of advanced thin-film photovoltaic modules. The new plant, which is designed to accommodate future expansion, will increase First Solar“s total US production capacity to more than 500 megawatts per year. Programmes such as Department of Energy loan guarantees and the solar investment tax credit are crucial to helping the renewable energy industry quickly reach the scale needed to compete with fossil fuels, First Solar President Bruce Sohn said in a statement. Over the long term, programmes like these facilitate the market growth and investment that will support the future expansion of this factory. Arizona Republican Senator John McCain praised the move as an important step toward greater energy security in the US.