The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has granted up to $500 million of debt financing for the US-based First Solar’s vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu.
This investment is likely to significantly boost the company’s solar panel manufacturing capacity while also generating momentum for the ongoing efforts of US to develop global supply chains that are free from the use of forced labour.
First Solar is the largest American solar manufacturing company, as well as the only US company among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers.
The loan announced represents the largest single debt financing transaction ever for the DFC and will support First Solar’s vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India, with a projected annual capacity of 3.3 gigawatts (GW). The new facility’s production is expected to sell mainly in the domestic market.
Interestingly, First Solar produces “thin-film” solar panel modules, which do not use polysilicon.
According to the release, this financing is to support First Solar in replicating its industry-leading transparency and traceability protocols in India, underscoring the importance of supply chain transparency throughout the renewable energy sector.
“First Solar is the first of the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers to join the Responsible Business Alliance to boost supply chain transparency throughout the renewable energy sector,” the release stated. “DFC is thrilled to be in a position to support First Solar’s new venture in India, which will boost solar panel manufacturing capacity for a key ally and help mobilise the industry to take up better standards that align with US values,” said Dev Jagadesan, DFC’s Acting Chief Executive Officer.