The 1.1-million-sq-ft First Solar Modular Manufacturing Plant planned for Lake Township, Ohio, will be the single largest thin-film solar module manufacturing facility in the U.S. when it’s completed in late 2019. The largest manufacturer of photovoltaic panels in the U.S., Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar will produce cadmium-telluride PV panels at the plant. “The project has an aggressive schedule—we started the design for the facility in March and broke ground for construction this June,” says George Barbu, vice president of Ghafari Associates, architect/engineer of the project. “Our team has worked hand in hand with project stakeholders to help them achieve their distinct goals for this project.” The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit final U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index marked the second-strongest improvement in the health of the sector since September 2014. ENR’s top manufacturing design firms are providing more services such as facility planning and prefabrication of equipment. Joint ventures between companies that would otherwise be competitors remain popular, particularly in the southern U.S. Green technology continues to drive manufacturing.

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