Peloton’s loss is First Solar’s gain


In 2021, during the height of COVID and rise in the in-home fitness market, Peloton announced construction of a manufacturing facility of over one million square feet. The end of the pandemic brought challenges to the fitness firm, with its stock dropping over 95% since 2021. First Solar, U.S.-based thin film solar module manufacturer, announced it has acquired the unfinished facility, which it plans to transform into a distribution center to distribute solar panels manufactured at First Solar’s three Ohio manufacturing facilities.

In 2023, these Ohio facilities had a reported combined annual capacity of approximately 6 GW. And First Solar plans to expand that capacity by almost a gigawatt in 2024, according to Mike Koralewski, chief supply chain officer at First Solar.

“We intend to use this facility to ensure the efficient and timely shipping of modules to our customers, repurposing it into a dedicated distribution hub for the largest solar manufacturing footprint in the Western Hemisphere, said Koralewski. “We expect that this approach will allow us to streamline logistics operations, while reducing operating costs and contributing to our cost reduction roadmap.”

In addition to expanding its Ohio footprint this year, the company expects to invest over $2 billion in new manufacturing facilities in Alabama and Louisiana. The new Alabama factory represents an investment of approximately $1.1 billion and is expected to be commissioned by 2025, with a planned annual capacity of 3.5 GWDC.

First Solar expects to have 14 GW of fully vertically integrated U.S. solar manufacturing capacity by 2026. Additionally, First Solar is investing up to $370 million in a dedicated R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio, which is expected to be completed in 2024.

While the Troy Township center will be used primarily for distribution, the company is eyeing using part of it for satellite manufacturing as well.

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