In June, First Solar predicted its plant in Frankfurt (Oder) would reach full capacity during the third quarter of 2011. This prediction was realised in October when the plant reached full production.
However, the cause célèbre was the production of the plant’s one millionth module, commemorated at an opening ceremony attended by Brandenburg Minister President Matthias Platzeck, Katherina Reiche, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and Jürgen Trittin, chairman of the parliamentary faction of the Greens / Bündnis 90 Party in the German Parliament.
“With the inauguration of our second German plant in Frankfurt (Oder), we're operating Europe's largest and most modern production site for advanced, thin-film solar modules,” said Tymen DeJong, senior vice president for global operations. “Our additional investment shows: Germany is a key market for solar energy and an important production location for First Solar.”
Covering an area of roughly 50,000m2, the thin-film solar PV module manufacturer will produce 250MW a year of solar modules. The expansion doubles First Solar's annual production capacity in Germany to 500MW. The new plant became fully operational on schedule after just one year of construction and an overall investment of more than €170 million. First Solar's employment in Frankfurt (Oder) has almost doubled to more than 1,200 from 650.
First Solar has also voluntarily established the industry's first comprehensive, prefunded solar module collection and recycling program and operates a recycling facility in Frankfurt (Oder).