First Solar, a manufacturer of solar PV modules with semiconductor technology, plans to build two new thin-film PV modules manufacturing plants in the US and Vietnam, increasing the company’s annual manufacturing capacity by nearly 500MW.

The company is in the process of negotiations and site assessments in both countries for the new plants, which are expected to be completed in 2012, creating approximately 600 green jobs.

The new factories, designed to accommodate additional production capacity will further extend First Solar’s previous capacity additions, including eight lines at its Kulim, Malaysia facility, four lines in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, and two lines in Blanquefort, France.

This is in addition to the expansion of First Solar’s Perrysburg, Ohio, manufacturing plant, which serves as the company’s primary hub for engineering, research and development, and employs more than 1,100 of First Solar’s 1,500+ US-based associates.

Combined with these expansions, the new plants will nearly double the company’s production capacity from 1.4gW in 2010 to more than 2.7gW in 2012, while generating over 1,000 construction jobs through the installation of solar power plants in North America.

First Solar CEO Rob Gillette said that these expansions provide proximity to the growing US demand while supporting the company’s roadmap to drive down the cost of clean, sustainable solar electricity.