Solar panel company to build huge manufacturing plant in Iberia Parish, hire 700

Panels will have all American-made components

By: - August 10, 2023 12:31 pm
Row of solar panels

Rows of solar modules generate electricity at UL-Lafayette’s Photovoltaic Applied Research and Testing (PART) Lab — Aug. 9, 2021. (Photo credit: Wes Muller/La. Illuminator)

An Arizona company plans to build a $1.1 billion facility in Iberia Parish that will manufacture solar panels with all American-made components. 

First Solar, the largest solar energy manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere, announced Thursday that it has selected Acadiana Regional Airport in New Iberia as the site of its fifth American manufacturing facility to produce high-performance photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, according to a press release from Gov. John Bel Edwards. 

The company will use 100% U.S.-made components in its solar panels and expects to create more than 700 new jobs with a total annual payroll of at least $40 million. The project is believed to be the largest single capital investment in the area’s history, the press release said. 

The Acadiana facility will be built on a site that the Louisiana Economic Development agency (LED) certified as suitable for development. 

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“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,” Edwards said. “This massive investment and the jobs it will create are a huge win for the people of Acadiana and the entire state. It is proof positive that Louisiana’s ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to energy is growing and diversifying our economy.”

To secure the project in Iberia Parish, the state of Louisiana offered First Solar various incentives including $30 million worth of performance-based grants. The company is also expected to participate in the state’s Quality Jobs tax credit program that is contingent upon job creation.

Iberia Parish and the Iberia Economic Development Authority are also supporting the project by committing to fund site improvements such as water and wastewater infrastructure development.

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.


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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi.