For 2009, the company says it will double production capacity to more than 1 gigawatt of energy which is the equivalent of a nuclear power plant.
First Solar attributes its success to government subsidies. “Without forward-looking government programs supporting solar electricity, we would not have been able to invest in the capacity expansion which gives us the scale to bring costs down,” said First Solar’s CEO, MIchael Ahearn in the release.
The New York Times’ blog, Green Inc. who saw First Solar’s announcement a few minutes early thinks the message from is “Support us now, and in three years, you’ll get cheap clean energy.” The blog reports that the company’s financial model expects manufacturing costs to hit 65-70 cents per watt by 2012. That means solar power will be on par with coal and natural gas.