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American solar company First Solar has held a ground-breaking ceremony for its new manufacturing facility in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, US.

It marks the company’s fifth fully vertically integrated plant in the country.

The facility includes an investment of approximately $1.1bn and expects to further bolster the country’s capacity to generate photovoltaic solar panels.

Throughout the construction process, the company estimates to generate roughly 700 new direct manufacturing jobs and 500 construction jobs.

Commercial shipments from the facility are anticipated to begin in the first half of 2026. It will increase the company’s manufacturing capacity by 3.5GW to around 14GW in the US and 25GW worldwide in the same year.

Upon completion, the facility will encompass over two million square feet and is expected to turn a sheet of glass into a ready-to-ship Series 7 module in approximately 4.5 hours, potentially creating more than a dozen new US-made solar panels per minute.

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By GlobalData

First Solar CEO Mark Widmar said: “This facility, like its sister facilities in Ohio and Alabama, represents First Solar’s investment in our country’s future. We are creating enduring value for the US by building a robust solar manufacturing base and the value chains that enable it.

“This delivers jobs and economic value today and establishes the foundations needed for the country to enter the next decade with a secure supply of solar energy technology.”

US-based builder Rudolph Libbe will work as the general contractor for this project.