First Solar to build Arizona manufacturing plant

Posted: Updated:

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar Inc. plans to build a new plant in the neighboring Phoenix suburb of Mesa for manufacturing thin-film solar panels.

Company officials said Thursday the plant will employ 600 and be built on a 135-acre property that previously was the site of a General Motors automobile proving ground.

The panels, called photovoltaic modules, convert sunlight into electricity.

Construction is to start in the next several months and take a year, with the project providing approximately 450 construction jobs.

Company officials cited Arizona's sunny weather and a supportive business climate in the Phoenix area for their decision to pick Mesa for the plant site.