First Solar has chosen the location of Acadiana Regional Airport in Iberia Parish, Louisiana for its fifth fully integrated manufacturing plant in the US. This facility is a significant investment, costing up to $1.1bn, and will expand America’s photovoltaic solar module production capacity.

It is expected to be finished by the first half of 2026 and will increase the company’s manufacturing capacity by 3.5GW, reaching about 14 GW in the US by 2026.

First Solar’s Louisiana investment will generate more than 700 new manufacturing jobs in the state. The company aims to have over 4,000 employees by 2026. This includes 850 new manufacturing jobs in Alabama and Ohio, along with over 100 new R&D jobs in Ohio.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said: “First Solar’s selection of Iberia Parish for its newest solar panel production facility leaves no doubt that Louisiana is leading the global energy transition, and creating good-paying jobs as a result.

“This massive investment and the jobs it will create are a huge win for the people of Acadiana and the entire state. It is proof positive that Louisiana’s ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to energy is growing and diversifying our economy. Thank you to everyone who made this day a reality, and a special thank-you to First Solar for trusting Louisiana to be part of their mission to create a more sustainable future.”

The upcoming Louisiana facility will manufacture First Solar’s Series 7 modules, projected to use entirely US-made components as outlined in the current domestic content guidelines from the US Department of Treasury. First Solar foresees that once the new factory is operational, Series 7 modules will make up more than two-thirds of its annual domestic capacity. The Series 7 modules are already produced at their Ohio plant use US-made glass and steel.

First Solar CEO Mark Widmar said: “We are pleased to partner with Louisiana as we lean into our commitment to creating enduring value for America by expanding our solar manufacturing footprint and the domestic value chains that enable it.

“As we evaluated our options, Louisiana’s ability to deliver the talent we need stood out, thanks to its extensive workforce development initiatives and the presence of academic institutions such as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette which now features a world-class solar energy lab.”