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Report shows America's largest solar panel maker has staggering impact on nation's economy: 'Enabling jobs and bringing prosperity to communities'

"This report reflects the real value of solar technology made in America for America."

"This report reflects the real value of solar technology made in America for America."

Photo Credit: iStock

First Solar, the United States' largest solar panel manufacturer, has been growing at a pace that makes the future look bright. 

A recent economic analysis released by the company revealed that it "added $2.75 billion in value and $5.32 billion in output to the US economy" in 2023, with expectations of nearly doubling its economic impact by 2026.

"All of First Solar's activities are considered new to the national economy because in the absence of First Solar, it is likely that demand for solar panels would be met by a foreign company given the concentration of solar manufacturing overseas, especially in China," a spokesperson from the company said.

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The vertically integrated solar manufacturing company prides itself on being the only U.S.-headquartered solar manufacturer among the world's 10 largest that doesn't rely on Chinese supply chains. 

Its 2023 economic report stated that it supported 16,245 U.S. jobs across multiple sectors, representing nearly $1.6 billion in labor income. 

First Solar had 2,700 employees in 2023, but every non-construction job created six more jobs within the U.S. economy. By 2026, the solar developer expects to have 4,100 employees on the books and support an estimated 30,060 jobs, equating to a projected total labor income of $2.78 billion. 

In addition, it expects to have 14 gigawatts of rated capacity across Alabama, Louisiana, and Ohio by 2026, more than double the six gigawatts it closed out 2023 with. If it reaches its production goals, it will contribute an estimated $4.99 billion in value and $10.18 billion in output to the economy.

A big part of its success comes from its advanced thin-film PV solar panels being produced under one roof in about four hours using American-made glass and steel, making the process more efficient and less polluting, by cutting down on shipping. 

This year, First Solar plans to expand its three-factory Ohio operations to over seven gigawatts of annual capacity and invest over $2 billion in new manufacturing plants in Alabama and Louisiana, scheduled to open in 2024 and 2026, respectively. 

"This report reflects the real value of solar technology made in America for America, with materials sourced from businesses across the country, and not simply assembled here using imported components," Mark Widmar, First Solar's CEO, said in a press release

"We know that our investments, catalyzed by the Inflation Reduction Act, are enabling jobs and bringing prosperity to communities in places such as Lawrence County, Alabama, Iberia Parish, Louisiana, and Crawford County, Pennsylvania, and this report helps quantify the extent of our contribution to the US economy in real terms," he added.

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