First Solar is Increasing Production to 2.7 GW/Year


Photo: First Solar
Building 2 New Factories by 2012, Creating 1,200 New Jobs
First Solar is the 800lbs gorilla of the thin film solar industry, and the gorilla isn't on a diet! The company has announced the construction of two new factories, one in the U.S. and one in Vietnam, by 2012. This should raise its total production capacity to about 2.7 gigawatts per year.
Photo: First Solar

First Solar says each new plant will create 600 jobs, and that the actual locations will be announced in the future. First Solar already has factories in Malaysia, Germany, France, and in the U.S. in Perrysburg, Ohio.

With more and more factories, First Solar can hopefully continue to benefit from economies of scale. The company already has pretty much the cheapest thin film solar production costs around at 78 cents per watt, as of the second quarter. Startups like Nanosolar and Miasole are eventually hoping to beat that price over many years as they ramp up production. (source)

This is only good news for the environment. Solar power is one of the cleanest ways to make electricity, and the more competitive the price of panels is compared to other dirtier sources, the better. Solar-thermal is still better for large scale production in places like deserts, but panels have the benefit of decentralization, and they can use "wasted" space on roofs, producing energy closer to where it is used.

via Gigaom
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Tags: Alternative Energy | Solar Power

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