First Solar, Inc. is an American manufacturer of solar panels, and a provider of utility-scale PV power plants and supporting services that include finance, construction, maintenance and end-of-life panel recycling.

First Solar, a major producer of thin-film solar panels, has announced plans to open a fifth manufacturing facility in the United States.

The company will invest up to $1.1 billion in the new factory, which will have 3.5 GW of annual production capacity.

The location of the factory has not yet been decided, but it is expected to come online the first half of 2026.

The new facility is expected to grow First Solar’s nameplate manufacturing capacity by 3.5 gigawatts (GW) to reach approximately 14 GW in the USA and 25 GW globally in 2026.

Impact on First Solar’s Global Manufacturing Capacity

The facility will produce First Solar’s Series 7 modules, which are expected to be manufactured with 100% American-made components.

This decision is underpinned by robust fundamentals, including an order backlog of approximately 78 gigawatts, the industry’s strongest balance sheet, a repeatable vertically integrated manufacturing template, and a proven technology platform.

Over the past year, First Solar said it has committed to over $2.8 billion in capital investment and 7.9 GW of additional manufacturing capacity in the country.

Overview of First Solar’s Unique Thin-Film Technology

First Solar is a major producer of thin-film solar panels and is the world’s leading producer of Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) thin film panels.

They are unique in that they produce thin-film solar panels, as opposed to the crystalline panels most other major manufacturers focus on.

First Solar is focused on large, utility-scale solar power plants and owns and controls each step of the manufacturing and installation process: panel production, sales, installation, monitoring, and recycling of the solar panels once they’ve met the end of their useful life.

First Solar has done things differently since its inception and managed to cut its own road to success.

Right from developing cadmium-telluride (CdTe) based panels to developing advanced grid integration, plant control, forecasting and energy scheduling capabilities, the company has been able to sustain and succeed in the highly competitive solar energy market for decades.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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