Lawrence County Solar Project Grabs Additional $1 Million Grant
First Solar Inc., a prominent player in the renewable energy industry, is making significant strides with its ambitious $1 billion solar panel plant project in Lawrence County, and the project is receiving a welcome boost in the form of an additional $1 million in grant funding. This financial support is intended to facilitate crucial water and sewer system enhancements necessary for the successful execution of the project.
The inception of this solar panel plant was first announced in the year 2022, marking a significant milestone for First Solar as it represents the company’s fourth such facility in the United States. Anticipated to commence operations by 2025, this cutting-edge plant is poised to make a substantial impact by generating more than 700 job opportunities and substantially elevating First Solar’s total investment in the United States to an impressive sum exceeding $4 billion.
Notably, the project received a substantial financial boost earlier in the form of a $1.5 million grant from Alabama’s Community Development Block Grant program in June. The most recent $1 million grant has been secured from the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal entity renowned for its support of projects within the Appalachian Region, aimed at bolstering economic stability and improving overall quality of life.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey expressed her enthusiasm about the project, stating, “First Solar’s plans to build a photovoltaic solar module manufacturing facility employing over 700 workers is a game changer for Lawrence County.” She further emphasized her involvement in the initial announcement of this major economic endeavor back in November and announced the approval of funds to enhance water and sewer infrastructure, which are essential for servicing the new plant.
This latest grant, similar to the previous community development grant, is designated for the enhancement of water and sewer infrastructure at the project site. Its administration will be overseen by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Director Kenneth Boswell lauded the collaboration between First Solar and local officials, highlighting the positive impact of the Appalachian Regional Commission as a valuable supporter and partner in the creation of job opportunities in northern Alabama.
Founded in 1999, First Solar has emerged as a trailblazer in the solar manufacturing sector within the United States. Notably, it holds the distinction of being the largest solar manufacturer based in the country and stands as the only company among the world’s top-ten solar manufacturers that does not have its roots in China. Although headquartered in Ohio, First Solar’s expansion into Lawrence County marks a significant milestone as it represents the company’s first manufacturing facility outside of its home state, further solidifying its position as a leading player in the renewable energy sector.