The nation’s largest manufacturer of photovoltaic modules has announced plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Perrysburg. First Solar will construct a new 1 million square-foot solar module plant just a short distance from its existing site in the Cedar Business Park.

The $400 million expansion project will add 500 new workers with new annual payroll of approximately $30 million.

“Without question, First Solar recognized the essential assets this region offers – assets which provide companies those opportunities for growth and success, including a proven regional workforce and a highly ranked state business climate,” said Dean Monske, president and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership. “We congratulate First Solar for its significant investment and commitment to Northwest Ohio.”

The 1.2 gigawatt factory project is contingent on confirmation of state and local incentive packages currently in negotiation. Construction on the new plant will soon begin, with full production expected in late 2019.

First Solar’s Vice President of Global Manufacturing Mike Koralewski said the company has options for further manufacturing expansion in the future.

“Strong demand in the U.S. for advanced solar technology, along with recent changes in U.S. corporate tax policies, have encouraged our decision to grow First Solar’s U.S. production operations,” Koralewski said.

First Solar originated as a start-up out of the University of Toledo before moving its headquarters to Tempe, Ariz. The Perrysburg facility is First Solar’s largest solar manufacturing plant, with other plant locations in Malaysia and Vietnam. The company has invested nearly $3 billion in Ohio since its inception, including most recently a $175 million investment for retooling last year.

“We originated in Ohio and we’re proud to build on that history as we grow into the future,” said Tymen de Jong, First Solar’s chief operating officer.