First Solar Opens 3.3 GW Solar Module Manufacturing Facility in Tamil Nadu

The Tamil Nadu is the company’s sixth operational factory


U.S.-based photovoltaic (PV) modules manufacturer First Solar has inaugurated its fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu. The India facility joins the ranks of First Solar’s operational factories in the U.S., Malaysia, and Vietnam.

The facility will have an annual nameplate capacity of 3.3 GW and employ approximately 1,000 people directly. Involving an investment of approximately $700 million, including $500 million in U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) financing, the facility is First Solar’s sixth operational factory.

The Tamil Nadu facility focuses on producing First Solar’s Series 7 PV solar modules, specifically developed for the Indian market at the company’s research and development centers in the U.S.

The company claimed its Series 7 module has a carbon and water footprint approximately four times lower than crystalline silicon solar panels produced in China.

First Solar’s sustainable manufacturing approach uses 50% less energy and only a third of the water compared to an equivalent polysilicon module production facility.

Tamil Nadu Minister for Industries T R B Rajaa, who presided over the inauguration of the facility, said, “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 also hosts a solar PV recycling plant, contributing to a sustainable circular economy.

Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar, acknowledged the support of the Indian government in swiftly establishing the facility. He emphasized the facility’s role as a benchmark not only for First Solar’s global manufacturing footprint but for the entire solar industry.

Recently, First Solar entered into a 15-year captive power purchase agreement with Cleantech Solar, a renewable energy solution provider, to set up 150 MW of solar and 16.8 MW of wind power generating projects in Tamil Nadu.

The company recorded a net profit of $268.4 million during the third quarter of 2023, a year-over-year increase of 445.8% compared to a loss of $49.17 million.