BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The largest solar energy manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere is planning to build a $1.1 billion facility in southwest Louisiana, the governor’s office said.
First Solar’s site will be located at the Acadiana Regional Airport in Iberia Parish, Edwards’ office said Thursday in a news release. The project is expected to create about 700 jobs and have an annual payroll of at least $40 million, officials said.
“First Solar’s selection of Iberia Parish for its newest solar panel production facility leaves no doubt that Louisiana is leading the global energy transition, and creating good-paying jobs as a result,” Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office said. “It is proof positive that Louisiana’s ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to energy is growing and diversifying our economy.”
The facility will produce high-performance photovoltaic solar modules that are expected to be made with all U.S.-made components, the governor’s office said. The project is expected to be completed in the first half of 2026.
“We are pleased to partner with Louisiana as we lean into our commitment to creating enduring value for America by expanding our solar manufacturing footprint and the domestic value chains that enable it,” said First Solar Chief Executive Officer 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.”
The state offered the company an incentives package that included performance-based grants for site development and infrastructure improvements totaling $30 million. Iberia Parish and the Iberia Economic Development Authority are also committing to fund water and wastewater infrastructure.
Iberia Parish President M. Larry Richard, in a news release, said the project is a “game-changer.”
“We appreciate First Solar’s major investment and look forward to welcoming this international organization to the nation’s energy corridor,” Richard said.
Founded in 1999, First Solar is a leading American-based energy technology company and global provider of eco-efficient solar modules. The company is unique among the world’s 10 largest solar panel manufacturers as the only company with a U.S. headquarters and without a base of operations in China.