First Solar Acquires Mesa Proving Grounds Land

The 135 acres will be used for the first phase of the firm's next solar module fabrication plant and future expansion.

March 21, 2011
By Allison Landa, News Editor

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user ricketyus

Semiconductor firm First Solar Inc. is snapping up 135 acres within the Mesa Proving Grounds project in Mesa, Ariz. The land will be used for the first phase of the firm’s next solar module fabrication plant and future expansion.

With construction slated to begin during the second quarter and be completed in early 2012, the manufacturing facility is expected to generate 600 clean-tech jobs for the region. Construction will create another 400 to 500 positions.

First Solar previously considered other locations nationwide before settling on the Mesa Proving Grounds property. It is the first company to take space at the Proving Grounds.

Mesa mayor Scott Smith said the facility provides a major first step in developing the area into a center for economic growth, jobs and innovation. Vice mayor Scott Somers added that solar energy is one of many technology-based endeavors that will spearhead this growth.

The Mesa Proving Grounds were once a part of the 5,000-acre General Motors Desert Proving Grounds. The land was subsequently purchased by DMB Mesa Proving Grounds L.L.C., an affiliate of DMB Associates Inc., in 2006. The Proving Grounds encompass 3,200 acres, the largest remaining parcel of contiguous land within the Mesa planning area.