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Lawrence County solar plant receives additional $1 million grant

First Solar Inc., which is developing a $1 billion solar panel plant in Lawrence County, will receive an additional $1 million in grant funding to help provide water and sewer improvements for the project.

First announced in 2022, the solar panel plant – which is First Solar’s fourth plant in the United States – is expected to be operational in 2025, create more than 700 jobs, and bring the company’s total U.S. investment to more than $4 billion. 

Having been awarded a $1.5 million grant in June, courtesy of Alabama’s Community Development Block Grant program, this latest $1 million in grant funding comes from the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal entity that funds projects in the Appalachian Region to bolster economic stability and quality of life.

“First Solar’s plans to build a photovoltaic solar module manufacturing facility employing over 700 workers is a game changer for Lawrence County,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement announcing the funding. “I was pleased to join in that major economic announcement last November, and I am happy to announce today the approval of funds to provide necessary water and sewer improvements to serve the new plant.”

The newest grant, like the previous community development grant will be used to improve water and sewer infrastructure at the project’s site. It will be administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and Director Kenneth Boswell commended the cooperation between First Solar and local officials.

“The Appalachian Regional Commission is a valued supporter and partner when it comes to providing resources that help create jobs in north Alabama,” Boswell said. 

Founded in 1999, First Solar is the single-largest solar manufacturer based in the United States, and the only company among the world’s top-ten largest solar manufacturers not based in China. Headquartered in Ohio, the latest plant being constructed in Lawrence County will be the company’s first outside of its home state.

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