First Solar has announced plans to invest $400m to build a new solar module manufacturing facility near its existing Perrysburg, Ohio, US.

At the new facility, the company will produce its advanced technology Series 6 thin film photovoltaic (PV) module.

With an annualized capacity of 1.2GW, the new plant is expected to increase First Solar’s annualized US manufacturing capacity for thin film PV solar modules to 1.8GW.

First Solar’s global manufacturing senior vice president Mike Koralewski said: “Strong demand in the U.S. for advanced solar technology, along with recent changes in US corporate tax policies, have encouraged our decision to grow First Solar’s US production operations.”

The plant, which is expected reach full production in late 2019, is expected to create 500 new jobs in northwestern Ohio.

First Solar is currently in negotiations for confirmation of state and local incentive packages for the new facility.

Koralewski said: “State and local officials and Jobs Ohio have also worked with us to create a business-friendly environment that supported our objectives. These factors, combined with our own economies of scale in high tech manufacturing, make expanding U.S. operations an attractive, win-win opportunity.”

The firm expects to start construction on the new facility in mid-2018.

Koralewski said that company has options to expand manufacturing further manufacturing in the future, depending on sustained demand for advanced solar technology in the US.

Currently, First Solar’s Perrysburg site has a Series 6 manufacturing capacity of 600MW.

First Solar’s chief operating officer Tymen de Jong said: “Expanding our US manufacturing is particularly exciting

“We originated in Ohio, and we’re proud to build on that history as we grow into the future.”

Last year, the company invested $175m into retooling the original Perrysburg plant for production of its new Series 6 product.

According to the company, its Perrysburg facility indirectly supports over 4,000 jobs across Ohio.