Despite less-than-stellar earnings reports, First Solar continues to expand with new manufacturing planned along with dedicated R&D facilities to increase learning and reduce downtime on commercial production lines.

Following losses reported in its quarterly earnings call, First Solar announced plans to invest approximately $270 million in a dedicated research and development (R&D) innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio.

On yesterday’s third-quarter earnings call, First Solar CEO Mark Widmar said First Solar produced 2.4 GW of modules and shipped 2.8 gigawatts in the third quarter. “Despite recent signs of easing, the overall transportation and logistics environment remains challenging,” Widmar said. Benzinga Pro said his third-quarter earnings were $629 million, below analyst estimates of his $744.35 million, and the company posted a quarterly net loss of 46 cents a share for him. Reported.

Nonetheless, Widmar remained optimistic. “Continued long-term demand for our products and the fact that our technology is expected to serve as the backbone of many of our customers’ long-term growth plans is the first of his strong fundamentals for solar. It’s proof.”

The company plans to expand capacity to around 10.7 GW in 2026. In addition, First Solar will spend up to approximately $200 million to upgrade and expand its Ohio manufacturing footprint at both currently operational facilities. Widmar expects Ohio’s nameplate capacity to grow by almost 1 GW to just over 7 GW by 2025.

The newly announced R&D facility will be located near First Solar’s existing Perrysburg manufacturing facility and will cover approximately 1.3 million square feet. The plan is a high-tech pilot manufacturing line to produce full-size prototypes of thin-film and tandem PV modules.

“With a backlog of record shipments and consistent demand for our modules, we are optimizing our existing and planned capacity to deliver on our commitments while keeping our technology roadmap from losing momentum. We are facing two challenges,” says Widmar. “This investment will allow us to create an R&D sandbox separate from our commercial manufacturing operations, allowing mission he to accelerate innovation without the cost of taking critical tools offline.”

First Solar’s manufacturing line currently handles both commercial production of solar modules and the company’s product development efforts. However, the line cannot handle both activities at the same time.

Markus Gloeckler, Chief Technology Officer at First Solar, said: “This facility was designed with the future in mind and we hope to directly enable the next generation of advanced solar power.”

First Solar also operates factories in Vietnam and Malaysia and is building its first new manufacturing facility in India, which is expected to start operations in the second half of 2023. Once the expansion plan is complete, the company expects he will exceed 20 GW.DC Annual global manufacturing capacity in 2025

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