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First Solar announces fifth U.S. factory as Inflation Reduction Act fuels domestic manufacturing

A worker at First Solar in Perrysburg, Ohio July 8, 2022.

Megan Jelinger | Reuters

First Solar, the nation’s largest solar panel manufacturer, announced Thursday that it will build its fifth U.S. factory as the Inflation Reduction Act spurs a domestic manufacturing boom.

The company said it will invest as much as $1.1 billion in the new factory, the location of which has yet to be decided.

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The new site will increase First Solar’s nameplate manufacturing capacity by 3.5 gigawatts, reaching 14 GW in the U.S. by 2026, the year it’s slated to come online.

Including Thursday’s announcement, First Solar has invested $2.8 billion over the past year to ramp up production, including a new site in Alabama and expansions to existing Ohio facilities. Still, First Solar has been unable to meet surging demand, and in April, the company said it was sold out through 2026.

The Inflation Reduction Act has already spurred a flurry of clean energy factory announcements and more than $150 billion in capital investments since it passed nearly one year ago, according to estimates from American Clean Power.

President Biden said Thursday that First Solar’s announcement, alongside other green energy pushes, shows that “the era of America ceding leadership to our adversaries in clean energy is over.”

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