A US-based solar company, First Solar, announced Friday that it intends to invest $684 million in a new 3,300 megawatt (MW) module manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu. First Solar CEO Mark Widmar, the CEO, First Solar, stated, ‘India is inherently sustainable, driven by a growing economy and appetite for energy, with a well-defined goal that will require 25,000 MW of solar to be installed every year for the next nine years’. The company expects to begin operations in the second half of 2023 if it receives incentives from the Center.
First Solar did not specify the scheme under which it expects to receive incentives. In order to boost domestic manufacturing, the Union Cabinet has already approved the introduction of production-linked incentives (PLIs) in 10 key sectors, under which Rs 4,500 crore has been earmarked for Indian solar module manufacturers for a period of five years.
To build solar plants in the country, local developers have imported cheaper equipment from China. For two years, the Centre imposed a 25% safeguard duty on solar imports from China and Malaysia, which was extended until July 2021 at a rate of 15%. Solar modules imported in FY23 will be subject to a basic customs duty of 40%.
Premier Energies, a Hyderabad-based company, plans to invest around Rs 1200 crore over the next two years to expand its solar module and cell manufacturing capacity, and the planned facility will be eligible for incentives under the PLI scheme. In addition, Vikram Solar, headquartered in Kolkata, plans to build 3,000 MW of integrated modules, cells and wafers in the next five years, which may be eligible for PLI after ‘critical deliberations on the tenets of the scheme’.