US Grants $500M Financing To First Solar for 3.3GW Facility in Tamil Nadu

Highlights :

  • First Solar will use the financing to set up a vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu.
  • The facility’s projected annual capacity is 3.3 gigawatts (GW).

U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has approved up to $500 million of debt financing for First Solar, the largest American solar manufacturing company, subject to negotiations of definitive agreements. The DFC financing will support the company’s previously announced vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, with a projected annual capacity of 3.3 gigawatts (GW).

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This investment seeks to enable DFC to work towards diversifying supply chains. First Solar produces “thin film” solar panel modules, which do not use polysilicon. The company was the first of the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers to join the Responsible Business Alliance.

Optimized for India’s unique operating environment, most of the new facility’s production is expected to sell into the quickly growing solar market in India, a Quad ally and key partner to the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region, said DFC. First Solar had also applied under the domestic PLI scheme of the Indian government, though it seems to have missed the cut in the first list.

First Solar is the largest solar manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere and the only U.S. company among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers. It announced its intent to build the India facility in July 2021, shortly after it unveiled plans for a new $680 million factory in Ohio(US) that will add 3.3GW of new domestic manufacturing capacity in the United States by 2023, while creating over 700 new manufacturing jobs. The company expects to reach 16GW of global manufacturing capacity in 2024.

“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 mobilize the industry to take up better standards that align with U.S. values,” said Dev Jagadesan, DFC’s Acting Chief Executive Officer. “This transaction represents another milestone in the United States effort to drive alternative supply chains – and to articulate a vision for climate finance that drives our development mission.”

“Like the United States, India has recognized that it must shape its own sustainable energy future, and has sought to supercharge the expansion of its domestic solar manufacturing capacity,” said Mark Widmar, Chief Executive Officer, First Solar. “DFC’s intent to support this facility has the potential to create a high-visibility, repeatable blueprint for enabling the clean energy ambitions of likeminded nations through American innovation, ingenuity, and competitiveness.”

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