American bank to lend $500 million for First Solar’s 3 GW fab in India


American bank U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has approved up to $500 million of debt financing for thin-film module manufacturer First Solar, Inc. The DFC financing will support First Solar’s 3.3 GW/annum vertically integrated solar module manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India.

The foundation stone for the First Solar fab was recently laid out at Pillaipakkam.

First Solar is the only U.S. company among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers. It announced its intent to build the India facility in July 2021, shortly after it unveiled plans for a new $680 million factory in Ohio that will add 3.3 GW of new domestic manufacturing capacity in the United States by 2023, while creating over 700 new manufacturing jobs. The company expects to reach 16 GW of global manufacturing capacity in 2024.

“DFC is thrilled to be in a position to support First Solar’s new venture in India, which will boost solar panel manufacturing capacity for a key ally and help mobilize the industry to take up better standards that align with U.S. values,” said Dev Jagadesan, DFC’s Acting Chief Executive Officer. “This transaction represents another milestone in the United States effort to drive alternative supply chains – and to articulate a vision for climate finance that drives our development mission.”

“Like the United States, India has recognized that it must shape its own sustainable energy future, and has sought to supercharge the expansion of its domestic solar manufacturing capacity,” said Mark Widmar, Chief Executive Officer, First Solar. “DFC’s intent to support this facility has the potential to create a high-visibility, repeatable blueprint for enabling the clean energy ambitions of likeminded nations through American innovation, ingenuity, and competitiveness.”

This investment will promote DFC’s commitment to diversifying supply chains. First Solar produces “thin film” solar panel modules, which do not use polysilicon. First Solar, which was the first of the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers to join the Responsible Business Alliance, will replicate its industry-leading transparency and traceability protocols in India, amplifying efforts to boost supply chain transparency throughout the renewable energy sector, read the DFC statement.

Optimized for the country’s unique operating environment, most of the new facility’s module production is expected to sell into the quickly growing solar market in India.

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