First Solar helps revitalize Pennsylvania glass manufacturing


The Vitro Architectural Glass business is getting a shot in the arm as part of the U.S. solar manufacturing boom. Headquartered in Cheswick, Pa., Vitro entered into an agreement to manufacture glass for the largest domestic producer of solar modules, First Solar.

Ricardo Maiz, President of Vitro Architectural Glass, said this investment is a pivotal moment in Vitro’s history.

“In 2020, Vitro Meadville’s Line 2 was at the end of its useful life when it was also impacted by the automotive industry supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to bring this line back into production and contribute to the revitalization of manufacturing in the U.S. and Western PA.”

Vitro will invest a total of $93.6 million to rebuild and modernize a production line at its Meadville Plant located in Cochranton, PA, to support First Solar’s advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and growing manufacturing footprint in the United States. The investment will also include the construction of offline production capabilities.

“We are thrilled by how, through this partnership, we will serve the U.S. market with new and better sustainable products while advancing our strategy to drive growth in the renewable energy sector,” said Vitro CEO, Adrian Sada.

Vitro’s investment in the Meadville Plant is expected to provide First Solar with a vital domestic source of float glass, which is a significant component of the company’s advanced thin film solar panels.

“While much of the focus has been the role of clean energy manufacturing tax credits in catalyzing solar manufacturing, it’s important to understand that the true value being created for America goes well beyond the direct investment and creation of jobs in factories that produce solar panels,” said Mike Koralewski, chief supply chain officer, First Solar. “Our fully vertically integrated factories must be served by robust, domestic supply chains that produce vital components such as glass and steel and even wooden crates, while supporting thousands of American jobs. We are pleased to welcome the Vitro Meadville Plant to the First Solar network of suppliers. Once the facility is commissioned, its workers will join thousands of American solar workers in enabling our country’s energy transition.”

Since August 2022, First Solar has embarked on an expansion plan that is expected to grow its existing annual nameplate capacity from approximately 6 GWdc currently to over 10 GWdc by 2025, by expanding its capacity in Ohio and adding a new manufacturing facility in Alabama.

Vitro’s Meadville plant is strategically located to serve First Solar’s production and already has the necessary raw materials required to support their production. Production is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2025, resulting in the creation of approximately 130 full-time jobs.

Listen to more in-depth conversations on Solar Builder's YouTube channel

Our most popular series include:

Power Forward! | A collaboration with BayWa r.e. to discuss higher level industry topics.
The Buzz | Where we give our 2 cents per kWh on the residential solar market.
The Pitch | Discussions with solar manufacturers about their new technology and ideas.

Tags: ,

Comments are closed here.