American steel forms the backbone of First Solar’s US-made Series 7 panels, which are manufactured with up to 90% domestic content. The transformation of iron ore to steel rolls to finished back rails, all happens within a 100-mile radius of First Solar’s Ohio factories: the steel is made in Cleveland, processed in Delta, and fabricated into back rails in Bowling Green.
"My family has been with this company for 25 years. Between my uncle, my dad, and my brother, I'm the fourth Mack to be here and the first female crane operator in the WIP (work in process) department. I bring the steel in, ship out the finished product, and keep the lines moving and producing."
Maddison Mack | Crane Operator | Worthington Industries
At a new Bowling Green, Ohio, facility, purpose-built to supply First Solar, the Ice Industries team transforms freshly galvanized sheets of steel into Series 7 back rails. The facility is set to employ 120 workers once it reaches full production.
"We’re making support rails for the solar panel that gets attached to the back of the solar panels so they can be mounted wherever they are being installed. We take long straps of steel and slowly bend them into a new shape using a series of rolls.
I kinda fell into roll forming 17 years ago and just kept doing it. I used to do a lot of automotive. Making a move towards solar makes me feel like I'm doing a little more for the environment - and that makes me feel pretty good.
This is a brand-new setup, so I get to do a lot of training of new workers. We have a lot of new workers to hire to get this place running. We'll need forklift drivers, shipping and receiving personnel and line workers. It's going to get busy!"
Benjamin Higgins | Rollform Engineer | Ice Industries, Bowling Green, Ohio
"At full production, this new plant we're building will become about 25% of our overall business. I spent a decade in the lead acid battery business before coming here eight months ago to start pulling this new plant together to produce rails for the back of the solar panels.
The amount of money the government is spending on renewables, it's very clear that it's the future. It's coming."
Tyler Donaldson | Director of Process Engineering
Ice Industries, Bowling Green, Ohio