First Solar has moved a step closer to doubling its production capacity in Germany by completing work on its new factory in Frankfurt, Brandenburg. Construction work on the manufacturing facility cost €173 million, took just 12 months to complete and has boosted First Solar’s overall annual module capacity to 477MW.
The factory itself, which is partially powered by a PV roof installation, will manufacture 238MW of modules each year and create 500 jobs in the region. Production is scheduled to begin in June.
“Germany remains a key solar market and manufacturing base for First Solar,” said First Solar’s president, Bruce Sohn. “The stability of the political framework here is an important factor in our investment and supports our mission to reduce the cost of solar energy to grid parity. The government’s decision to steadily reduce support schemes rather than put a cap on the market is necessary and encourages our efficiency improvements. Doubling our capacity in Frankfurt will enable us to satisfy the growing demand for clean, affordable, renewable energy not just in Germany, but throughout Europe and around the world.”
“We welcome this additional investment in Brandenburg by First Solar, which has been a leading employer in our region. Their investment not only creates new jobs for our skilled workforce, but also supports further opportunities for the renewables industry and local businesses,” added Matthias Platzeck, Prime Minister of the state of Brandenburg.
The Frankfurt plant expansion is the latest stage in First Solar’s plan to increase global production capacity to 2.7GW by 2012.