IIT Madras Research Park (IITMRP), India’s first university-based research park, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with US-based manufacturer First Solar to work jointly towards the application of thin-film PV technology in India.
The two organizations will cooperate on a range of research and development (R&D) activities including the localization of thin film and other next-generation PV technology supply chains in India, high-volume manufacturing, testing of PV modules, and high-value recycling.
First Solar stands to benefit from IIT Madras Research Park’s expertise in areas such as field testing, while the partnership allows IIT Madras Research Park to broaden its understanding of thin-film PV technology,
Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, president– IIT Madras Research Park, IITM Incubation Cell & RTBI, said, “First Solar is the world leader in thin film solar and its knowledge and track record in both R&D and high-volume manufacturing represents a tremendous opportunity for India, which is working to secure its clean energy supply chains. First Solar has demonstrated the potential of thin film to counter China’s dominance of crystalline silicon with high-performance solar panels that are competitive, sustainable, and responsibly produced. We are pleased to collaborate with the company to broaden our understanding of its technology while sharing our expertise in renewables.”
First Solar produces its thin-film PV modules using a fully integrated, continuous process under one roof. The company’s eco-efficient module technology, which uses its proprietary Cadmium Telluride (CadTel) semiconductor, has the lowest carbon and water footprints of any PV module available today.
Kuntal Kumar Verma, chief manufacturing officer of First Solar, on the MoU said, “The MoU covers a number of areas that directly support India’s decarbonization, energy independence, and sustainability goals and we would be pleased to share our experience, while also benefitting from the institution’s expertise in areas such as field testing.”
In 2021, First Solar announced the investment in a new full vertically integrated thin-film solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu with an annual capacity of 3.3 GW DC. The facility, located in Pillaipakkam, Tamil Nadu, is expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2023.
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