EDITOR’S NOTE: The project records appearing every week in the Site Selection Project Bulletin are pulled from the Conway Projects Database, a proprietary resource with tens of thousands of records of corporate end-user facility investments across all industry sectors and all world geographies. Want to look for our projects yourself? Look here.

New Iberia, Louisiana

Associates make solar modules at First Solar’s flagship manufacturing complex in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Photo courtesy of First Solar

Only two weeks after announcing its intention to build a fifth U.S.-based vertically integrated photovoltaic solar module plant somewhere in the country (and one day after this Site Selection Snapshot highlighting a clean energy manufacturing surge), First Solar, Inc. on August 10 announced it had selected the Acadiana Regional Airport in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, for what is believed to be the single largest capital investment in the area’s history. Expected to be completed in the first half of 2026, the 700-job facility is forecast to grow the company’s nameplate manufacturing capacity by 3.5 gigawatts (GW) to reach approximately 14 GW in the U.S. (and 25 GW globally) in 2026. “First Solar is unique among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers for being the only U.S.-headquartered company and not manufacturing in China,” the Tempe-Arizona–based company stated, mainly because it avoids dependence on Chinese crystalline silicon supply chains by using a tellurium-based semiconductor. “As we evaluated our options,” said First Solar CEO Mark Widmar, “Louisiana’s ability to deliver the talent we need stood out, thanks to its extensive workforce development initiatives and the presence of academic institutions such as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette which now features a world-class solar energy lab.” First Solar commissioned its third Ohio factory earlier this year and is expected to complete its new facility in Alabama and the expansion of its existing Ohio footprint in 2024. A new facility in India should begin commercial production late this year. The company also is investing up to $370 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio. First Solar employs 2,500 people nationally today and expects to have over 4,000 direct employees in the country by 2026, including 850 new manufacturing jobs expected to be created in Alabama and Ohio and over 100 new R&D jobs planned in Ohio.



Albuquerque, New Mexico

Maxeon says the capacity of its forthcoming Albuquerque plant will be approximately double the size of the largest silicon solar manufacturing facility currently operating in the U.S..

Rendering courtesy of Maxeon Solar Technologies

On the same day but a few states to the west, Singapore-based Maxeon Solar Technologies, Ltd. announced it had chosen Albuquerque, New Mexico, as the location for its first U.S. manufacturing expansion, a $1 billion, 3-gigawatt facility designed to produce “TOPCon PV-silicon cell technology and the company's proprietary shingled-cell Performance Line solar modules.” The project is subject to a successful financial close under the U.S. Department of Energy's Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program. “Maxeon is currently in the due diligence stage of its loan application and site selection is an important milestone in completing this process with DOE's Loan Programs Office,” the company said. “The Inflation Reduction Act has catalyzed a new chapter in America's energy transition.” said Bill Mulligan, Maxeon CEO. “Our new solar cell and panel facility in New Mexico is an ambitious and concrete response to the need to decarbonize the U.S. economy while creating permanent, highly skilled local manufacturing and engineering jobs. We expect the new plant will also serve as an anchor to attract further regional investment in the solar supply chain. As a company that started in Silicon Valley 38 years ago, we are proud to be bringing U.S.-developed technologies back home and to contribute to the reshoring of a domestic solar supply chain.” Maxeon expects to begin construction in the first quarter of 2024, with factory ramp-up to commence in 2025 at a 160-acre site located in the community of Mesa Del Sol. The complex will include solar cell fabrication, panel assembly, a warehouse and administrative offices. Maxeon operates other plants in Mexico, Malaysia and the Philippines. “Due to strong customer demand and the planned availability of sufficient infrastructure at the Mesa Del Sol site,” the company stated, “Maxeon is currently evaluating plans to upsize the scale of its U.S. manufacturing operation by approximately 50% to a nameplate capacity of 4.5 GW. A final decision regarding plant capacity is expected later this year.”



Itori, Ogun State, Nigeria

Over and above the new cement plant, Aliko Dangote (left) seeks an economically empowered Africa through a number of major facility investments, including the $19.5 billion Dangote Industries refinery and petrochemical complex being developed in Lekki Free Trade Zone in Nigeria, pictured here during a 2022 visit by African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina.

Photo courtesy of African Development Bank

Earlier this year Nigeria-based Dangote Industries Limited signed an agreement with China Sinoma International Engineering to build this cement plant in Itori, Ogun State, at a location Dangote Chairman Aliko Dangote referred to as an “axis” for potential industrial growth just north of Lagos along the A5 highway. The new plant will have a capacity of 6 million metric tons per annum (mtpa), bringing the company’s total capacity across Africa to 57.6 mtpa. According to a report in The Premium Times, Nigeria, the plant will be completed in 27 months. It’s the company’s fourth greenfield cement plant in Nigeria, joining facilities in Obajana, Ibese and Okpella. The new facility comes even as the company’s Q1 financial results presentation noted that Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to grow at a slower pace of 3.6% in 2023, down from 3.9% in 2022, due to “the challenges of accelerating commodity prices, fiscal imbalance and a pile up of public debt. More worrisome to the grim outlook of the region is the outbreak of the war in Sudan, which borders countries of Ethiopia, Egypt, Chad, and Libya,” the presentation said. The fastest growing operating countries for the company this year are Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia.