The plan comes close on the heels of the Indian government’s focus on Aatmanirbhar Bharat and declared intent to reduce dependence on Chinese power equipment, sources said.
First Solar, a US-based solar module manufacturer and EPC player, is evaluating options to set up a solar equipment manufacturing plant in India as part of its capacity expansion plan. The plan comes close on the heels of the Indian government’s focus on Aatmanirbhar Bharat and declared intent to reduce dependence on Chinese power equipment, sources said.
The company’s plan will, however, be contingent on evaluation of all options closer to demand centres that provide cost-competitive labour and raw material. The decision to look at other production centres is also to provide an alternative source of supply of silicon crystalline technology to countries looking beyond China.
Sujoy Ghosh, vice-president for India and APAC, First Solar, in an email response to FE, said the company is evaluating the potential for capacity expansion and may seek to diversify its manufacturing presence beyond the US, Malaysia and Vietnam.
“While we have made no decisions at this time, the factors in this evaluation include the geographic proximity to solar demand where First Solar has an energy or competitive advantage; the ability to export cost competitively to other markets; cost-competitive labour, low energy cost, and low real estate cost; and finally, a cost-competitive supply chain to support the sourcing of raw materials and components,” Ghosh said.
First Solar has been present in India since December 2011 and its business activities include sale of modules to third parties and development of utility scale PV solar assets. The company has an installed base of over 1.2 GW of modules in India and have commenced project development since 2014.