The US-based First Solar Inc on Friday announced that it will invest $684 million in a new, fully vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) thin film solar module manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu. It will set-up a 3.3 GW manufacturing facility, generating 1,000 highly skilled jobs in the region, says a company press release.

In December 2020, First Solar signed an MoU with the State government to set up a solar module manufacturing facility at an investment of ₹4,185 crore.

‘Inherently sustainable market’

Contingent upon permitting, and pending approval of Indian government incentives that are satisfactory to First Solar, the advanced facility is expected to commence operations in the second half of 2023, says the release. “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 every year for the next nine years,” said Mark Widmar, Chief Executive Officer, First Solar. “Crucially, it has combined its clean energy targets with effective trade and industrial policy designed to enable self-sufficient domestic manufacturing and true energy security. We also have many long standing customers in the country that will be pleased to have access to an advanced PV module, which is made in India, for India,” he said in the release.

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Widmar added, “India stands apart in the decisiveness of its response to China’s strategy of state-subsidised global dominance of the crystalline silicon solar supply chain. The country’s comprehensive approach provides precisely the kind of level playing field needed for non-Chinese solar manufacturers to compete on their own merits, and should be a template for other like minded nations. We are very pleased to be able to support the sustainable energy ambitions of a major US ally in the Indo-Pacific region with American-designed solar technology.”