The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has approved up to $500 million in debt financing for First Solar, the largest solar manufacturing company in the United States, subject to definitive agreements being negotiated. The DFC funding will go toward the company’s previously announced vertically integrated photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing facility in the Indian-state of Tamil Nadu, which is expected to produce 3.3 GW of solar modules annually.
According to the company statement, the purpose of this investment is to help DFC diversify its supply lines. First Solar makes “thin film” solar panels that do not contain polysilicon. The company was the first among the top 10 solar manufacturers in the world to join the Responsible Business Alliance. First Solar has also filed for the Indian government’s domestic PLI plan, but it appears that company did not make the first cut.
First Solar is the only American company among the top 10 solar companies in the world. It revealed its intention to develop the India facility in July 2021, just a few months after announcing plans for a new $680 million factory in Ohio, which will add 3.3 GW of additional Indian domestic manufacturing capacity by 2023 and over 700 new manufacturing jobs. In 2024, the company plans to reach a global manufacturing capacity of 16 GW.
REGlobal’s Views: First Solar has been present in the Indian solar space since many years. The company has chosen an ideal time to set up the massive manufacturing facility in India as the government has introduced several policy interventions to promote domestic manufacturing of solar products and reduce the reliance on imports.