Vitro Enters Agreement with First Solar to Manufacture Glass for Solar Panels

Vitro Architectural Glass has entered into an agreement to manufacture glass for First Solar’s advanced thin-film photo-voltaic (PV) solar panels. First Solar is a solar technology company and global provider of eco-efficient solar modules.

To support the move, Vitro will invest $93.6 million to rebuild and modernize a production line at its Meadville plant in Cochranton, Pa. The investment will also include the construction of offline production capabilities. Production is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2025. The move is expected to generate more than $1 billion in sales for Vitro in the next decade.

“This agreement is a true manifestation of Vitro’s purpose of enabling the full potential of glass to shape how we move, build and live today and in the future,” says Vitro CEO Adrian Sada. “It also reflects our continued commitment to the North American trade region and proves that we have a sound strategy for growth as a global player. We are thrilled by how, through this partnership, we will serve the U.S. market with new and better sustainable products while advancing our strategy to drive growth in the renewable energy sector.”

Domestic First

Mike Koralewski, First Solar’s chief supply chain officer, adds that “while much of the focus has been on the role of clean energy manufacturing tax credits in catalyzing solar manufacturing, it’s important to understand that the true value created for America goes well beyond the direct investment and creation of jobs in factories that produce solar panels. Our fully vertically integrated factories must be served by robust, domestic supply chains that produce vital components such as glass and steel and even wooden crates while supporting thousands of American jobs. We welcome the Vitro Meadville plant to the First Solar network of suppliers. Once the facility is commissioned, its workers will join thousands of American solar workers in enabling our country’s energy transition.”

Vitro officials state that the Meadville plant updates will provide First Solar with a domestic float glass source. The plant is already prepared with the raw materials required to support First Solar.

Revitalizing Meadville

“We are committed to being a valued supplier to First Solar and a partner in their efforts to bring more clean, renewable energy capacity to the U.S. and North America,” says Vitro president Ricardo Maiz. “This represents a pivotal moment in Vitro’s history, and we’re proud to play a role in helping to bring our technical expertise in glass manufacturing to the solar PV industry. In 2020, Vitro Meadville’s Line 2 was at the end of its useful life
when it was also impacted by the automotive industry supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to bring this line back into production and contribute to the revitalization of manufacturing in the U.S. and Western Pennsylvania.”

Expansion

The agreement with Vitro coincides with First Solar’s expansion plans. The company is expected to grow its annual capacity from around 6 gigawatts to more than 10 gigawatts by 2025 thanks to facility upgrades in Ohio and a new manufacturing facility in Alabama.

“I’m incredibly excited to hear Vitro will be expanding their footprint right here in the Meadville area, and they are bringing 130 new full-time manufacturing jobs with them,” says U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly. “In recent years, I’ve led the fight here in Washington to cut the red tape and create fair trade laws that have allowed companies like Vitro to grow and create new jobs here in Western Pennsylvania. This upcoming expansion builds upon Crawford County’s rich history in the manufacturing industry. I look forward to working alongside the hardworking team at Vitro in the years to come.”

Pennsylvania chamber president and CEO Luke Bernstein adds, “Congratulations to Vitro on this future-focused investment creating direct and downstream jobs in Pennsylvania. Under the leadership of Maiz, Vitro is leading the way toward a sustainable economic future and driving the future of manufacturing right here in the commonwealth.”

Briefly

Glaston is working on emissions reduction targets that align with the international Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The company is working on setting its next emissions targets, covering the emissions from the entire value chain. Officials say the targets will be submitted to the SBTi climate organization for validation … Şişecam  has expanded its Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) product portfolio and now has 11 EPD certifications for various flat glass products.

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