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First Solar Commits 5 GW Capacity In India, Mulls Setting Up Manufacturing Unit

One of the leading solar power companies in the world is looking to significantly expand its footprint into one of the fastest emerging solar power markets in the world.

First Solar has made a commitment to set up 5 GW of solar power capacity in India over the next 5 years. The company made this announcement at RE-INVEST, a first-of-its-kind investors summit for renewable energy organised by the Indian government recently.

First Solar Power Project

The company did not specify any states where it would look to set up solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, although it secured rights to develop some projects in two southern Indian states.

First Solar will set up 45 MW solar PV capacity in Telangana and 40 MW capacity in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The company had secured these projects through competitive bidding process initiated by respective state governments last year.

At the RE-INVEST summit, the Chief Executive Officer of First Solar Jim Hughes also announced that his company is considering the prospect of setting up a solar PV module manufacturing unit in India. The final decision on the matter would be taken on the basis of the demand created over the next few years.

First Solar is among, if not the leading largest solar PV module supplier in India. A large number of projects commissioned under the Gujarat Solar Power Policy and the early phases of the National Solar Mission use First Solar modules. By mid-2013, the company had a national share of about 20%.

As mentioned in several of our recent articles, India plans to set up tens of gigawatts of solar power capacity based on Indian-made modules. A significantly large portion of the 20 GW capacity to be added through ultra mega solar power projects, as well as the entire capacity to be commissioned by the various arms of the Indian armed forces, is set to be based on Indian-made modules.

These would at least a portion of the 20 GW of ultra mega solar power projects, majority of the large-scale solar power capacity to be set up by the public sector companies and the entire capacity to be set by the various arms of the Indian defence forces.

Interestingly, First Solar has floated their idea of an India-based manufacturing unit just weeks after competitor SunEdison announced an agreement with Adani Enterprises to set up India’s largest modules manufacturing unit. The production facility, to be located in Gujarat, would require an estimated investment of $4 billion.

Image Credit: First Solar

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Written By

Smiti works as a senior solar engineer at a reputed engineering and management consultancy. She has conducted due diligence of several solar PV projects in India and Southeast Asia. She has keen interest in renewable energy, green buildings, environmental sustainability, and biofuels. She currently resides in New Delhi, India.


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