First Solar to Triple Yearly Production Output

Beginning this month, Arizona-based First Solar will begin production expansions at their Ohio facility that will triple their output, bringing their thin-film solar photovoltaic production to approximately 40 MW annually by next year and a full 75 MW by 2007.

“The expansion is prompted by strong customer demand for the product and our ability to replicate the current process while continuing to rapidly increase conversion efficiencies” said Mike Ahearn, CEO of First Solar. This announcement comes after the successful scale up of First Solar’s base manufacturing plant in Perrysburg, Ohio to a “steady state” annual production volume of 330,000 modules, representing 21.5 MW of capacity in 2005. The company said their thin-film modules have an average module efficiency of 9 percent. “The successful scale up of this advanced thin film process represents a major milestone for First Solar, marking our shift from development to high volume production” said Ahearn. The production figures reported by First Solar equate to an average annual compound growth rate of over 230 percent over 2002-2005, making it one of the fastest growing solar module manufacturers in the World. “These accomplishments strengthen the position of U.S. manufacturers as leaders in the next generation of thin film solar technologies and accelerate our national drive to make solar electricity competitive with conventional electricity costs,” said David Garman, Assistant Secretary of Energy. The Department of Energy, through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has played an instrumental role in the development and support of First Solar’s technology, according to Mr. Ahearn.
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