First Solar to set up a 3.3 GW solar module manufacturing facility in India

US-based manufacturer of solar modules, First Solar, has announced plans to invest $684 million to set up a new, vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar module manufacturing facility in India.

As per the proposal, the company will build its new manufacturing facility with a 3.3gigawatt (GW) capacity in Tami Nadu. The facility is expected to be operational in the second half of 2023.

The plan however is contingent on obtaining the necessary permissions and pending approval of the Indian government incentives that are satisfactory to First Solar.

With this 3.3 GW capacity module manufacturing facility in India, the company would become the largest solar module manufacturer in the country.  With the company’s expansion in India, First Solar expects that its module manufacturing capacity will double to 16gigawatt direct current (GWdc) in 2024.

The company said the facility would be designed using the advanced manufacturing technology established for its recently announced facility in Ohio. The facility will have a high degree of automation, precision, and continuous improvement with artificial intelligence, internet of things connectivity, and machine-to-machine communication.

Mark Widmar, Chief Executive Officer of First Solar, said, “India is an attractive market for First Solar, and not simply because our module technology is advantaged in its hot, humid climate. It is an inherently sustainable market, underpinned by a growing economy and appetite for energy, with a well-defined goal that will need over 25 GW of solar to be deployed annually for the next nine years.”

“We also have many longstanding consumers in the country that will be pleased to have access to an advanced photovoltaic module, which is made in India, for India,” Widmar added.

As of date, First Solar has supplied a total of 1.94 GW of solar modules to projects in India to date. India is the second-largest market for the company next to North America. Recently, IDFC Alternatives’ India Infrastructure Fund II (IIF II), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Vector Green Energy, entered into definitive agreements with First Solar Power India and its affiliates to acquire seven operating solar projects with a total capacity of 190 MW across the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Shampa Bahadur has been a business journalist for more than two decades. She has written for Business India, PTI Media TransAsia and India Infrastructure Publication Ltd among others. She has also written coffee table books. She can be reached at shampa@indoasiancommodities.in

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