First Solar plans $684 mn module manufacturing plant in India

First Solar - AP photo

First Solar announced that it will invest $684 million in a 3,300 megawatt (MW) module manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu, India.

“India is an inherently sustainable market, underpinned by a growing economy and appetite for energy, with a well-defined goal that will need over 25,000 MW of solar to be deployed every year for the next nine years,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar.

First Solar said the facility is projected to have a capacity of 3.3 gigawatts (GW) DC. With First Solar’s expansion in the United States and India and optimization of its existing fleet, the company anticipates that its manufacturing capacity will double to 16 GWDC in 2024.

The solar module making facility is expected to commence operations in the second half of 2023 if it receives incentives from the government, the US-based First Solar said.

The manufacturing facility will be designed using the advanced manufacturing template established for First Solar’s recently-announced factory in Ohio.

India has already approved the introduction of production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme in 10 key sectors, under which Rs 4,500 crore has been earmarked for Indian solar module manufacturers for a five-year period.

India had imposed a 25 percent safeguard duty on solar imports from China and Malaysia in July 2018 for two years, which was extended till July 2021 at a rate of 15 percent. From the beginning of FY23, solar module imports will attract a basic customs duty of 40 percent.

Hyderabad-based Premier Energies recently said it intends to invest around Rs 1,200 crore in the next two years to expand its solar module and cell manufacturing capacity and the planned unit will be considered for bidding for incentives under the PLI scheme.

Kolkata-headquartered Vikram Solar said it plans to add another 3,000 MW of integrated module, cell and wafer manufacturing capacity in the next five years which might be considered for PLI.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has projected that India will overtake the European Union (EU) to become the world’s third largest consumer of electricity by 2030. India targets that renewables will make up 40 percent of its energy portfolio by 2030, and the country is forecast to account for almost 20 percent of the world’s installed solar capacity by 2040.