EDF, First Solar Team Up On French Plant
EDF subsidiary EDF Energies Nouvelles and the US’ First Solar haveformed a joint venture to build France’s largest solar panelmanufacturing plant.
The plant will have an initial annual capacity to produce more than100MW of thin-film photovoltaic (PV) panels, and will employ 300 peoplewhen it reaches full production during the second half of 2011.
First Solar will build and operate the plant, which involves aninvestment of €90 m. EDF Energies Novellas will finance half of thecapital investment and start-up costs and will receive the plant’sentire output for the first 10 years. First Solar and EDF EN intend toannounce their decision on the site location within the next fewmonths.
France’s Sustainable Development Minister Jean-LouisBorloo said “I salute the decision of EDF Energies Nouvelles and FirstSolar to invest and create jobs in France’s solar sector, which hasbegun to take off since the Grenelle de l’Environnement initiative,” hesaid. “This investment represents a veritable turning point for thephotovoltaic industry and confirms that France is more than ever in aposition to play a leading role globally.”
Pâris Mouratoglou, Chairman of the Board of EDF EnergiesNouvelles, said, that the company had raised 500 m last year to financeits expansion in the PV sector and that the company intends to be aglobal leader in solar energy. EDF Energies Nouvelles says it has atarget of installing 500MW in photovoltaic capacity for its ownoperation by 2012. “Securing a competitive supply is essential for usto participate in the development of a large French solar market,” saidMouratoglou.
Mike Ahearn, Chairman and First Solar CEO Mike Ahearn said,“The decision to invest in France reflects our firm belief in theFrench market and its great potential. It represents a vote ofconfidence in the policies being developed by the French governmentsince the Grenelle de l’Environnement to promote renewable energies andallow solar electricity to compete economically with other forms ofenergy.”
First Solar’s manufacturing site will also include afacility for recycling solar panels, France’s first such facility andEurope’s only solar panel recycling plant outside of Germany.
EDF Energies Nouvelles is a 50%-owned subsidiary of the EDFGroup listed on the Euronext Paris exchange. It has focused on windenergy for several years and more recently on solar PV which it says isnow a second priority avenue of development for the group.
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