First Solar Announces Plans For 2 New Factories

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Solar panel maker First Solar Inc. said Thursday it will build new factories to help meet strong demand for its panels.

The plants, expected to be built in the U.S. and Vietnam, will raise the company's manufacturing capacity by nearly 500 megawatts when the factories are completed in 2012.

Each plant will create about 600 jobs and will be designed to easily increase capacity, the Tempe, Ariz., company said in a statement.

First Solar said it is negotiating for sites in both countries and will announce them later.

The factories are in addition to previously announced additions in Kulim, Malaysia; Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany; and Blanquefort, France, the company said in a statement.

The company finished expansion of its plant in Perrysburg, Ohio, near Toledo earlier this year.

The plants announced Thursday, when combined with previously announced expansion, will nearly double the company's factory capacity from 2010 to 2012, First Solar's statement said.

Shares of First Solar rose $7.17, or 5.2 percent, to $144.10 in morning trading Thursday.
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