First Solar to Build New U.S. Plant

Additional plant will be located in Vietnam.

First Solar Inc. said Oct. 14 it will build a new plant in the United States and a facility in Vietnam that will boost the company's annual manufacturing capacity by nearly 500 megawatts to help meet demand for its thin-film photovoltaic modules.

"These expansions provide proximity to growing U.S. demand while supporting our roadmap to drive down the cost of clean, sustainable solar electricity," said First Solar CEO Rob Gillette in a prepared statement.

The plants are expected to be completed in 2012. Each new plant will employ approximately 600 people and will be designed to accommodate additional production capacity.

Negotiations and site assessments are ongoing in both countries and will be finalized and announced at a later date, the company said.

The new plants combined with previously announced expansions will nearly double production capacity from 1.4 GW in 2010 to more than 2.7 GW in 2012.

First Solar previously announced capacity additions, including eight lines at its Kulim, Malaysia facility, four lines in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, and two lines in Blanquefort, France. Earlier this year the company also completed an expansion of its Perrysburg, Ohio, plant near Toledo, which serves as First Solar's primary hub for engineering, research and development.

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