Vitro Architectural Glass has recently announced a new partnership agreement with First Solar, America’s largest fully vertically integrated solar manufacturer, to manufacture glass for the company’s advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.
The agreement is set to support First Solar’s expanding manufacturing footprint in the United States and is estimated to generate over $1 billion in sales for Vitro in the next decade.
As part of the agreement, Vitro will invest a total of $93.6 million USD in upgrading its Meadville Plant located in Cochranton, PA. The investment will create approximately 130 new high-quality jobs and will include the construction of offline production capabilities. Production is expected to start in the second quarter of 2025.
This agreement is a significant move for Vitro, as it is a true manifestation of the company’s purpose of enabling the full potential of glass to shape how we move, build, and live today and in the future. It also reflects Vitro’s continued commitment to the North American Trade Region and proves that the company has a sound strategy for growth as a global player. Vitro’s CEO, Adrian Sada, expressed his excitement about the partnership, saying, “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.”
The investment in the Meadville Plant is expected to provide First Solar with a vital domestic source of float glass, a significant component of the company’s advanced thin-film solar panels. First Solar, which is the largest solar manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere, has embarked on an expansion plan since August 2022, expected to grow its existing annual nameplate capacity from approximately 6 GWDC currently to over 10 GWDC by 2025. This expansion includes expanding its capacity in Ohio and adding a new manufacturing facility in Alabama.
The partnership with Vitro will ensure that First Solar’s fully vertically integrated factories are 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. This will enable the company to transition the country to cleaner, renewable energy capacity and contribute to revitalizing manufacturing in the United States.
Vitro’s Meadville Plant is strategically located to serve First Solar’s production and already has the necessary raw materials required to support their production. The new agreement is expected to provide First Solar with a reliable domestic source of float glass, supporting its goal of expanding its advanced thin-film solar panel production.
Ricardo Maiz, President of Vitro Architectural Glass, expressed his commitment to being a valued supplier to First Solar and a partner in their efforts to bring more clean, renewable energy capacity to the United States and more broadly, North America. “This represents a pivotal moment in Vitro’s history,” he said, “and we’re proud to play a role in helping to bring our technical expertise in glass manufacturing to the solar PV industry.”
The announcement of this new partnership has been met with great enthusiasm from the local community and state officials. Congressman Mike Kelly expressed his excitement about the expansion of Vitro Architectural Glass in the Meadville area, saying, “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 Architectural Glass in the years to come!” PA Chamber President and CEO Luke Bernstein also congratulated Vitro on their future-focused investment, saying, “Under the leadership of President and PA Chamber Board Director Ricardo Maiz, Vitro is leading the way in our commonwealth’s thriving manufacturing sector, providing direct and downstream jobs that help our communities prosper.”
Source: Vitro Architectural Glass with additional information added by Apazone