First Solar’s New Alabama Factory: A Major Win for the Inflation Reduction Act


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First Solar, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solar panels and modules, announced plans to build their newest facility in Clanton, Alabama. The new facility will be used to make photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into energy used by households, businesses and utilities. Construction is scheduled to begin this month, with an expected completion date of April 2017. First Solar CEO James Hughes expects the new factory will create hundreds of jobs for the region as it seeks local talent to help bring its technology to market faster than ever before.

Image Source- Department of Energy

After the Inflation Reduction Act and its incentives for domestic manufacturing pushed businesses to onshore production, First Solar said on Wednesday that it had chosen Alabama as the location for its fourth U.S. solar panel manufacturing plant.

Approximately $1.1 billion will be spent by First Solar on the site in Lawrence County, North Alabama. The site of the new plant had not yet been revealed when the corporation first announced its plans in August. The Inflation Reduction Act, according to First Solar CEO Mark Widmark a major factor in the company’s decision to locate its newest factory in the United States.

By 2025, First Solar expects to have produced more than 10 gigawatts worth of solar modules. Ohio is home to the company’s other three facilities, one of which is expected to open in the first half of 2023. First Solar said that it had spent more than $4 billion in American manufacturing with the unveiling of the most recent facility in Alabama.

According to First Solar’s Widmar, “the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has firmly positioned America on the path to a sustainable energy future.”

He said, “This plant will contribute to the industrial foundation that helps guarantee that this transformation is driven by American invention and talent, together with its sister factories in Ohio.”

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the current capacity of the U.S. solar sector is around 126.1 GW, or enough energy to power 22 million households. According to SEIA, the nation installed 3.9 GW of solar capacity during the first quarter of this year.

The largest panel producer in the United States, First Solar, specialises in utility-scale panels. After the IRA rekindled interest in renewable energy businesses on Wednesday, shares of First Solar reached their highest level since April 2011. Nevertheless, there have been some recent challenges for the corporation as investors have shifted away from industry segments that are focused on growth.

First Solar, however, has maintained its gains while outpacing other solar equities and the market as a whole. The company’s shares, which are located in Arizona, have increased by more than 80% this year. In contrast, the Invesco Solar Fund has up 6% this year while the S&P 500 has decreased by 17%.

Following the climate bill, several solar businesses, such as SolarEdge and Enphase Energy, have stated they are considering U.S. manufacture. Other sustainable energy businesses that have announced new facilities include lithium miner Piedmont Lithium and battery manufacturer Freyr.


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