First Solar’s German PV plant expansion opens

First Solar opened its plant expansion in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany today, representing a $200 million investment and doubling First Solar’s production capacity and jobs in Germany.

November 3, 2011 — Thin film solar cell maker First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq:FSLR) opened its plant expansion in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany today, representing a $200 million investment and doubling First Solar’s production capacity in Germany.

First Solar will now be able to output 500MW annually from its Germany facilities. Covering an area of roughly 50,000sq.m., the new plant will manufacture 250MW a year of solar modules. The new plant became fully operational on schedule after one year of construction. First Solar’s employment in Frankfurt (Oder) has almost doubled to more than 1,200.

The factory will incorporate clean electricity from its own rooftop solar system. 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).

The German investment conditions allowed First Solar to expand solar cell production without losing a competitive cost structure, said Burghard von Westerholt, managing director of First Solar Manufacturing GmbH

Germany Trade & Invest provided its free-of-charge investor consulting services to assist First Solar’s German market entry. Germany “remains unwavering” in its commitment to solar energy, said Thomas Grigoleit, director of renewable rnergies & resources at Germany Trade & Invest in Berlin. The country has more installed photovoltaics (PV) capacity than any other nation, and PV power has surpassed hydropower in electricity generation there.

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 were among the guests at the opening ceremony.

Germany Trade & Invest is the foreign trade and inward investment promotion agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. Learn more at www.gtai.com/pv/industry-overview.

First Solar makes cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaics. The company has recently reshuffled its leadership, with a CEO and CFO departing. Learn more at www.firstsolar.com/.

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