Paris, France [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDFEN) and First Solar Inc. have announced a venture to build France’s largest solar panel manufacturing plant. With an initial annual capacity of more than 100 megawatts (MW), the plant will produce solar panels made with First Solar’s advanced, thin-film photovoltaic technology. At full production, projected for the second half of 2011, the plant could employ more than 300 people.
Under the terms of the arrangement, First Solar will build and operate the plant in France. The plant represents an expected investment of more than €90 million [US $128 million]. EDFEN has agreed to finance half of the capital expense and plant start-up costs and will benefit from the plant’s entire output for the first 10 years.
First Solar and EDFEN plan to announce their decision on the site location within the next few months. The site will also include a facility for recycling solar panels, France’s first such facility and Europe’s only solar panel recycling plant outside of Germany.
“The decision to invest in France reflects our firm belief in the French market and its great potential. It represents a vote of confidence in the policies being developed by the French government since the Grenelle de l’Environnement to promote renewable energies and allow solar electricity to compete economically with other forms of energy,” said Mike Ahearn, chairman and CEO of First Solar.