29 March 2023
India awards financial incentives to First Solar’s Tamil Nadu manufacturing facility
Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA says that its manufacturing facility in India has been awarded financial incentives under the Indian government’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) program. First Solar was one of only three manufacturers selected to receive the full range of incentives, which are reserved for fully vertically integrated manufacturing. The incentives are subject to the facility meeting product efficiency and domestic value creation thresholds, which will be evaluated on a quarterly basis from second-quarter 2026 through 2031.
The PLI program is intended to promote the manufacturing of high-efficiency solar modules in India and to reduce India’s dependency on foreign imports of solar modules. Under the scheme, manufacturers are selected through a competitive bid process and receive certain cash incentives over a five-year period following the commissioning of their manufacturing facilities. Among other things, such incentives are based on the efficiency and temperature coefficient of the modules produced, the proportion of raw materials sourced from the domestic market, the extent to which the manufacturer’s operations are fully integrated within India, and the quantity of modules sold from such manufacturing operations.
First Solar’s new facility, expected to be commissioned in second-half 2023, is located in the state of Tamil Nadu and will have an annual nameplate capacity of 3.4GWDC. Designed using the manufacturing template established by First Solar’s newest factory in Ohio, the facility will produce the company’s Series 7 modules.
Said to be unique among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers for being the only US-headquartered company, for not using a crystalline silicon (c-Si) semiconductor, and for not manufacturing in China, First Solar produces its thin-film PV modules using a fully integrated, continuous process under one roof and does not rely on Chinese c-Si supply chains. The firm’s CdTe PV module technology is claimed to have the lowest carbon and water footprints of any PV module available today.
First Solar is the only one of the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers to be a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), the world’s largest industry coalition dedicated to supporting the rights and well-being of workers and communities in the global supply chain, and the company says that it has zero tolerance for forced labor in its manufacturing or its supply chains. First Solar is also the first PV manufacturer to have its product included in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) global registry for sustainable electronics.
First Solar is also expanding its US manufacturing footprint, from over 5GW of annual nameplate capacity (in three operating factories in Ohio) to over 10GW by 2025 (when it completes its new $1.1bn factory in Alabama and a $185m expansion of its existing capacity in Ohio). The firm expects to have over 20GW of annual global nameplate manufacturing capacity by 2025.