Mesa and First Solar dedicate factory site that will create hundreds of jobs
By: Kevin Christopher
08/19/11 11:29 AM
For Release: Aug. 19, 2011
Ted Meyer or Melanie Friedman
City of Mesa
Public Information and Communications Director
The City of Mesa and First Solar, Inc. held a dedication ceremony this morning at the factory site for the company’s new solar module fabrication plant. A plaque was dedicated to the people and agencies who worked together to bring the manufacturing facility to the Mesa Proving Grounds, which will generate approximately 600 clean-tech jobs.
“First Solar coming to Mesa is an important step to establish Arizona as a major player in the solar and clean energy industry. Projects like this don’t happen without the cooperation between the private and public sectors, region and state. I’d like to thank those partners, especially First Solar and DMB, for working together to bring this facility to the Mesa Proving Grounds,” Mayor Scott Smith said.
First Solar will occupy approximately 130 acres within the 32-hundred acre Mesa Proving Grounds site, which was acquired by DMB Associates, Inc. in 2006. The area offers quick and easy access to two nearby freeways and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
“This is a huge step in transforming the Gateway area into a major center of economic growth, innovation and high-wage jobs,” Mesa Vice Mayor and District 6 Councilmember Scott Somers said.
Following a nationwide search, First Solar announced in March that it had selected the Mesa Proving Grounds property to build its solar module fabrication plant. Construction began in late spring and is expected to be completed early next year.
“Our Mesa factory has progressed from an idea to advanced construction in just a few short months, which would not have been possible without the support and hard work of countless state and local officials, both public and private,” First Solar CEO Rob Gillette said. He cited the efforts of Mayor Scott Smith and Mesa City staff, Maricopa County, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Arizona Commerce Authority and the Office of Governor Jan Brewer for working together on the project.
The factory, which is expected to begin producing modules by the third quarter of 2012, will enable First Solar to manufacture 250 megawatts (MW) of thin-film modules per year. The facility is designed to accommodate future expansion.
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