Gov. Kay Ivey has announced a $1 million grant to help meet the nation’s increasing demand for solar power while providing more than 700 jobs in North Alabama.
The Lawrence County Commission will use the funds from the Appalachian Regional Commission to provide the needed infrastructure for First Solar to construct a $1 billion photovoltaic solar module manufacturing facility.
Ivey awarded a $1.5 million Community Development Block Grant this summer to assist with the infrastructure for the facility which will be located near Trinity.
“First Solar’s plans to build a photovoltaic solar module manufacturing facility employing over 700 workers is a game changer for Lawrence County,” said Ivey. “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 ARC and CDBG funds will be used to provide sewer and water improvements in the Mallard Fox West Industrial Complex where the plant will be constructed.
First Solar’s Alabama plant is the fourth one to be constructed in the United States. The other three are in Ohio, where First Solar is headquartered. The Alabama plant is expected to begin production in 2025.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama.
“The Appalachian Regional Commission is a valued supporter and partner when it comes to providing resources that help create jobs in north Alabama,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “I also join Gov. Ivey in commending local leaders and First Solar for working together to make this project a reality.”
Ivey notified Bobby Burch, chairman of the Lawrence County Commission, that the grant had been approved.
ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments. The agency’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. Thirty-seven Alabama counties, including Lawrence County, are part of the ARC region and eligible for funds.
ADECA manages a range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management.