First Solar will consider US manufacturing buildout if climate bill passes

A PV production plant from First Solar. Image: First Solar.

Thin-film module manufacturer First Solar will consider expanding its production footprint in the US if proposed legislation that includes manufacturing credits becomes law, the company’s CEO has said.

Arizona-headquartered First Solar had previously revealed it was evaluating the potential for future capacity expansions in the US, but said it first required clarity on domestic solar policy.

On Wednesday key senator Joe Manchin announced he had struck a deal to vote on legislation dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act 2022, which features a host of manufacturing credits for solar equipment.

“In light of these latest developments, and should the Inflation Reduction Act get passed with consistent language on solar-related tax credits, we plan to pivot quickly to reevaluate US manufacturing expansion,” Mark Widmar, CEO at First Solar, said during a conference call with analysts.

Management is hopeful that an advanced manufacturing production credit, if passed, “helps deliver the incentives required to boost domestic solar manufacturing and secure our nation’s energy independence”, he added.  

First Solar is investing US$680 million to set up a 3.3GWdc solar module manufacturing plant in Ohio – the company’s third factory in the state – that remains on schedule and is expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2023.

The company also operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia and is setting up a 3.3GW plant in India that is on track to be commissioned in the second half of 2023.

Having seen strong demand from domestic developers and foreign-owned independent power producers in India, First Solar anticipates entering into the first contracts for the output of the new factory in the coming months, according to Widmar.

“Similarly in Europe, we are seeing growing demand where geopolitics and the war in Ukraine have led to an urgent effort to deploy more renewables as the EU works to diversify its energy portfolio,” Widmar said during the call.

First Solar posted net sales of US$621 million during Q2 2022, slightly down on the US$629 million recorded in the same quarter last year.

Operating income was US$145 million, compared to US$110 million in Q2 2022.

Conference call transcript from Seeking Alpha.

Read Next

August 12, 2022
REC Solar and its parent company, Reliance Industries, have ramped up recruitment of staff for its India solar manufacturing plant.
August 12, 2022
Yingkou Jinchen Machinery has an agreement with Indian module maker Waaree to supply it with a 2.5GW high-efficiency module production line
August 11, 2022
The financial adversity of India’s struggling distribution companies (Discoms) has been reflected in a significant downgrading in the latest rankings by the Ministry of Power, giving yet more concern for renewable energy players
August 10, 2022
US solar tracker manufacturer FTC Solar has cut its net losses compared with last quarter and Q2 2021 but has seen its revenue collapse, blaming a hostile solar environment in the US that has seen project delays and cancellations, which it said it now hoped was coming to an end.
August 9, 2022
The passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) could bolster opportunities for Clearway Energies, according to Roth Capital Partners.
August 9, 2022
Renewables developer and operator Leeward Renewable Energy (LRE) has started the construction of a 196MW solar PV plant in London, Ohio.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
September 7, 2022
15:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Solar Media Events
September 14, 2022
Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA
Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event