First Solar Inaugurates 3.3 GW Sustainable PV Manufacturing Facility in India

Jan. 16, 2024
The facility – representing an investment of nearly $700 million – uses 50% less energy and only one-third of the water compared to polysilicon module production facilities

First Solar, Inc. inaugurated its new photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India. The facility is considered the country’s first fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing plant.

“We are pleased that First Solar chose Tamil Nadu for this landmark investment, solidifying our state’s position as India’s hub for manufacturing,” said Dr. T R B Rajaa, Tamil Nadu’s Minister for Industries, Promotions, and Commerce. “This factory sets a high bar for sustainability and advanced manufacturing and has created high-value jobs as a result of its presence in our state, all while supporting India’s ambition to become self-sufficient in solar technology.”

The facility will produce First Solar’s Series 7 PV solar modules at a nameplate capacity of 3.3 GW and directly employ approximately 1,000 people. The facility also features tellurium-based semiconductors, which allow the company to reduce its dependence on Chinese crystalline silicon supply chains.

The Series 7 module represents the company’s most eco-efficient module featuring a carbon and water footprint that is approximately four times lower than crystalline silicon solar panels.

The company’s sustainable manufacturing approach also uses 50% less energy and only one-third of the water compared to polysilicon module production facilities.

The facility itself is located in an area of high baseline water stress, allowing the facility to rely entirely on tertiary-treated reverse osmosis water from the city’s sewage treatment plant while having zero wastewater discharge.

Additionally, the factory is home to India’s first solar PV recycling plant, which provides closed-loop semiconductor recovery for use in new modules while also recovering other crucial materials, such as aluminum, glass, and laminates.

The facility – representing an investment of nearly $700 million – is First Solar’s sixth operational factory and stands to expand the company’s global manufacturing footprint to four countries, including the US, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

First Solar expects to have 25 GW of global nameplate capacity by 2026.