MESA, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) dedicated its factory site in Mesa, Ariz., at a ceremony held this morning. The company also announced that Todd Spangler has been appointed Site Director and General Manager of the new Mesa factory, having previously served as General Manager of First Solar’s factory in Perrysburg, Ohio. Mike Koralewski will succeed Spangler as manager of the Perrysburg facility, and was appointed Vice President of Site Operations and Plant Manager.
“The U.S. is our fastest-growing market, and the additional production capacity from this factory will help us meet growing demand for clean, locally produced solar electricity.”
Representatives from the city of Mesa and First Solar officials hosted a reception at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Mesa to celebrate construction progress. Vice Mayor Scott Somers, Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) President and CEO Barry Broome, and Tom Alston, Solar Outreach and Policy Coordinator for U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, also took part in the celebration.
“First Solar coming to Mesa is an important step to establish Arizona as a major player in the solar and clean energy industry. This cutting-edge facility brings hundreds of new high-tech jobs to the East Valley and adds to the ongoing development of the Gateway area,” Mayor Scott Smith said. “Projects like this don’t happen without the cooperation between the private and public sectors, region and state. I’d like to thank those partners, especially First Solar and DMB, for working together to bring this facility to the Mesa Proving Grounds.”
“Our Mesa factory has progressed from an idea to advanced construction in just a few short months, which would not have been possible without the support and hard work of countless state and local officials. Today we dedicate this site to the many people and agencies that helped make it happen, both public and private,” said Rob Gillette, CEO of First Solar. “The U.S. is our fastest-growing market, and the additional production capacity from this factory will help us meet growing demand for clean, locally produced solar electricity.”
First Solar’s Mesa factory is expected to begin producing modules by the third quarter of 2012 and will employ approximately 600 full-time associates. First Solar is investing just over $300 million in the four-line factory, which will produce approximately 250 megawatts (MW) of thin-film modules per year.
Output from the new factory is expected to be used in the construction of First Solar’s 2,600MW North American project pipeline, which includes the 290MW Agua Caliente project, located in Yuma County, Ariz. When fully operational in 2014, Agua Caliente will generate enough clean solar energy to serve the needs of about 100,000 average homes per year, displacing approximately 220,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide—the equivalent of taking about 40,000 cars off the road. Output from the Mesa factory is also expected to be used in First Solar’s California projects, including the 550MW Topaz project, 230MW Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One and the 550MW Desert Sunlight project.
Todd Spangler joined First Solar in February 2007 as the company’s Director of Manufacturing. In December 2008, he was promoted to Plant Manager of the Perrysburg, Ohio, campus. Prior to joining First Solar, he managed multiple plants and distribution centers for Lutron Electronics, the world’s leader in lighting controls.
Mike Koralewski has been with First Solar since August of 2006, leading the company’s global quality and product reliability initiatives. Prior to First Solar, he was employed by Dana Corporation for 10 years in a variety of quality functions throughout different business units.
About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology, and is a premier provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) system solutions. The company is delivering an economically viable alternative to fossil-fuel generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life collection and recycling, First Solar is focused on creating value-driven renewable energy solutions that protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.
For First Solar Investors
This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements in this release do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Those statements involve a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, including risks associated with the company’s business involving the company’s products, their development and distribution, economic and competitive factors and the company’s key strategic relationships and other risks detailed in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. First Solar assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release or with respect to the announcements described herein.