First Solar has selected northern Alabama as the location for its fourth U.S. solar module manufacturing facility. The new thin-film factory is part of the previously announced investment that will grow First Solar’s American manufacturing footprint to over 10 GW by 2025.
The planned factory in the Mallard Fox Industrial Park outside Decatur, Alabama, represents an investment of approximately $1.1 billion and is expected to be commissioned by 2025, with a planned annual capacity of 3.5 GW. The new fully vertically integrated facility will join three factories in Ohio, including one that is scheduled to come online in the first half of 2023.
“Our commitment to responsible solar includes operating facilities that are among the cleanest, safest, and most diverse in the country, and we’re pleased to bring our model of responsible solar manufacturing to Alabama,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. “We are proud of the role that this facility will play in creating stable, good-paying manufacturing jobs in the state, demonstrating the economic and social value that clean energy can deliver.”
First Solar estimates that its new investments in Alabama and Ohio, now estimated at $1.3 billion, will add at least 850 new manufacturing and over 100 new R&D jobs, taking its total number of direct jobs in the United States to more than 3,000 people in four states by 2025.
If the First Solar plant in Alabama will be on Mallard Fox Drive, it appears that there are other manufacturers nearby, including multiple steel distributors, a polyester (PET) film manufacturer and multiple chemical companies.