Biggest Solar Panel Manufacturing company to be built in Ohio

SDM News

America's biggest solar-panel maker, First Solar, would be opening its third and biggest solar panel manufacturing company in Ohio. The company is looking to invest 680 million dollars into the Ohio factory after securing all the necessary permits and legal documents. It is believed construction is to start immediately so that the plant can be functional by 2023.

The factory would be located near Toledo and would be the company's third in Ohio. Solar panels would be able to produce up to three gigawatts of power yearly which is about enough to power over 500,000 homes. The company is looking to produce up to six gigawatts of power by 2025 from the three solar companies.

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Mark Widmer, who is the company's chief executive, stated that the growth of the American market and the government's input has ensured it has inspired local manufacturing in alternative energy. He also stated that the pandemic served as a reminder that over reliance on importation from a country can be worrisome. "Renewables created this great promise of liberation and energy independence. But the dominance of the Chinese has taken over this industry," Widmar said. "It really undermines the opportunity we created when renewables became reliable."

President Biden also claimed that he is looking to make America's electric grid carbon free by 2035 and would give the local industries a helping hand by making purchases made in America for their use. “The Administration is committed to its ambitious ‘Buy American’ goals and creating American-made products, including for solar technologies,” said a spokeswoman for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

The department of energy also claimed that the investments made by the government are the epitome of what the Biden's government is all about; that is to ensure strong domestic production companies and supply chains are built.

Chinese firms have taken control of the Solar panel market in the U.S since 2011 and have flushed out competition from both Europe and Asia. These companies, however having an early advantage faltered due to lack of funding and support unlike the Chinese firms. This Chinese competition reduced the prices of solar panels and made its power in tandem with natural gas much to the delight of economists.

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Despite the Chinese competition first solar has remained one of the very few companies that has stood the test of time. They specialise in creating panels for large scale installations while the Chinese firms focus more on residential markets. If planned correctly, the projects can help preserve desert animal life, Mr. Widmar said. “Wildlife emerges around them,” he said. “They can be a safe haven.”

Besides building sustainable panels, the company would be looking to provide job opportunities for members of the communities at large. The company would employ over 500 people once operations start and would expand as time goes on. Regardless, there are concerns over the labor force due to unqualified job seekers. Widmar said, First Solar would lean towards automation and robots. Automated and guided vehicles would largely be in use to support the workers.

Mr Widmer claimed that the company would love to expand its US productions which would help save cost on importation and strengthen the company's motive to become a cheaper and better alternative to Chinese imports. “We are the only ones to stand up to the onslaught of the Chinese,” Mr. Widmar said. “A lot of people doubt we are enduring; that’s the challenge.”

Although Widmar has expressed concern over Biden's government and its need to increase corperate taxes from 21% to 28%. "If that's the only thing that happens, it clearly has an adverse impact as you think through investment decisions to add manufacturing capacity in the United States," Widmar said.

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