South Carolina Ports Authority has announced that First Solar, Inc., America’s largest solar manufacturer, has selected Greenville, South Carolina, for its new distribution hub on the East Coast.
Headquartered in Arizona, First Solar operates the Western Hemisphere’s largest photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing footprint in Northwest Ohio, as well as factories in Malaysia and Vietnam. The company plans to open a 41,800m3 distribution hub in Greenville — its first in the Southeast — to warehouse and stage deliveries for its customers in the United States.
First Solar will benefit from both the Port of Charleston’s access to international markets, such as Vietnam, and its overnight rail connection from the Port of Charleston to Inland Port Greer, SC Ports’ inland operation in Upstate South Carolina.
First Solar anticipates bringing up to 7,000 containers per year through the Port of Charleston, beginning in late May. Upon arrival at Inland Port Greer, cargo will be transported to First Solar’s nearby distribution hub in Greenville.
The facility sits near Inland Port Greer, which is located along Interstate 85 in Upstate South Carolina between Atlanta and Charlotte. Inland Port Greer extends the Port of Charleston’s reach 212 miles inland by providing overnight rail service via Norfolk Southern. The inland terminal reaches 90 million consumers within a 500-mile radius, which can be reached in a one-day truck trip.
SC Ports Authority opened Inland Port Greer in 2013 with BMW Manufacturing Co. as its launch customer. The inland operation has seen consistent growth since then and as a result, Inland Port Greer handled a record 157,000 rail moves in calendar year 2019, up 29% year-over-year.
“With its proximity to Inland Port Greer and our world class port system, First Solar’s investment in the economic and job growth of the Upstate will be pay dividends for years to come,” commented Sen. Karl Allen, SC senate district 7.