- First Solar has commenced construction on its planned 3.3 GW DC Ohio fab
- It will be constructed for an estimated investment of $680 million and is due for completion in H1/2023
- Modules rolled out of the fab will cater to utility scale solar market of the US
First Solar, Inc. the American manufacturer of thin film solar PV modules, has broken ground at its new and 3rd manufacturing facility in Ohio that on completion is to have 3.3 GW DC annual capacity. The company had announced its new Ohio fab in June 2021 (see First Solar To Expand US Production Capacity By 3.3 GW DC).
To be constructed with an investment of $680 million, the new fab will come online in H1/2023 and will take the company’s total Northwest Ohio footprint to a total annual capacity of 6 GW DC which, according to First Solar will make it the largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing complex outside China, and since it does not use c-Si semiconductor technology, the fab will not be reliant on Chinese c-Si supply chains.
First Solar said the fab will produce an ‘enhanced’ thin film PV module with higher efficiency and wattage in a ‘larger form’, for the utility scale solar market of the US. Stressing the importance of solar, First Solar CEO Mark Widmar called solar panels as the next crude oil, the management stated, “The additional production capacity from this new facility, when available, is also expected to help mitigate the challenges currently being experienced in the global ocean freight market, by reducing the transoceanic gap between international supply and domestic demand.”
It will be highly automated with industry 4.0 architecture, artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) connectivity. Construction company Rudolph Libbe, Inc. has taken up construction of the fab on 1.8 million sq. ft. space.
First Solar said on commissioning, the facility is expected to roll out an average of 1 module roughly every 2.75 seconds, across the 3-factory Ohio footprint.
The management recently identified India’s Tamil Nadu state as the location to set up a 3.3 GW DC vertically integrated thin film module fab by H2/2023 (see First Solar To Build 3.3 GW Thin Film Solar Fab In India).