Solar module maker First Solar and Arizona real estate firm DMB Associates have made a deal that has First Solar acquiring a large parcel of land within the Mesa Proving Grounds Project. First Solar intends to invest $300 million to build a new factory at the location and, in doing so, generate hundreds of jobs. Construction is expected to begin in Q-2 of this year and be completed early next year.
The Mesa Proving Grounds area is a sprawling 3,200 acre land site that DMB acquired in 2006. Somewhat ironically, the 135 acre section that First Solar will be building on used to be a testing facility for GM Motors. First Solar’s plans for construction include a factory that will accommodate four manufacturing lines that, according to First Solar, will be able to produce 250 MW (megawatts) worth of PV (photovoltaic) modules per year. Construction of the facility should generate between 400-500 jobs for the area. Once construction is complete, the manufacturing facility will support about 600 jobs during their first phase of operation.
The new factory will be outfitted with a 3 MW roof-mounted solar system and another large PV testing area on the ground. First Solar has designed the facility to use their “continuous manufacturing process” which they say takes a piece of glass and transforms it into a fully functioning solar panel in less than 2.5 hours. This new facility, along with First Solar’s Perrysburg, Ohio location, are expected to pump out a grand total of 500 MW worth of solar modules per year.
DMB’s prior land projects have included “signature commercial properties, resort/recreational and primary home communities, country clubs, health clubs and spas”. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the real estate development firm has dabbled in renewable energy.
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