First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) the world's largest manufacturer of advanced, thin-film solar photovoltaic modules, today inaugurated its second manufacturing plant in Frankfurt (Oder) and celebrated the production of the new plant's one millionth module. Brandenburg Minister President Matthias Platzeck; Katherina Reiche, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety; and Jürgen Trittin, Chairman of the parliamentary faction of the Greens / Bündnis 90 Party in the German Parliament were among the guests at the opening ceremony.
First Solar's new factory in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany was inaugurated on Nov. 3 after reaching full production in October. (Photo: First Solar, Inc.)
Covering an area of roughly 50,000 square meters, the new plant, which reached full production in October, will manufacture 250 MW a year of solar modules. The expansion doubles First Solar's annual production capacity in Germany to 500 MW. The new plant became fully operational on schedule after just one year of construction and an overall investment of more than 170 million euros. First Solar's employment in Frankfurt (Oder) has almost doubled to more than 1,200 from 650.
"With the inauguration of our second German plant in Frankfurt (Oder), we're operating Europe's largest and most modern production site for advanced, thin-film solar modules," said Tymen DeJong, Senior Vice President for Global Operations. Our additional investment shows: Germany is a key market for solar energy and an important production location for First Solar."
The new factory also demonstrates First Solar's complete life-cycle approach to manufacturing: the factory will incorporate clean electricity from its own rooftop solar system, helping to reduce the company's carbon footprint. First Solar has also voluntarily established the industry's first comprehensive, prefunded solar module collection and recycling program and operates a recycling facility in Frankfurt (Oder).
According to Brandenburg's Minister President, Matthias Platzeck, the new plant once more demonstrates that the state offers businesses excellent conditions: "First Solar and Brandenburg are a good match. Compared with other German states, we are already leading in the area of renewable energy. We will continue to strengthen our top position and contribute to further establishing Germany as one of the key players in protecting the climate and achieving a balance between ecology and economy."