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First Solar breaks ground on Vietnam factory

The new CdTe solar module manufacturing facility about 25 kilometres north of Ho Chi Minh City, will add more than 250MW in PV manufacturing capacity.

First Solar has officially broken ground on its four-line CdTe photovoltaic module manufacturing plant in the Dong Nam Industrial Park near Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh attended a ceremony at the site to mark the occasion.

The $300 million manufacturing plant is scheduled to begin commercial production in the second half of 2012 and will employ around 600 associates. Up to 2,000 people will be involved in the construction.

The plant will produce more than 250MW of First Solar’s advanced, thin-film solar modules per year on four manufacturing lines, with the flexibility for future expansion. First Solar plans to install some 3MW of its modules on the factory roof.

“Our Dong Nam factory will play a key role in our plan to nearly double First Solar’s capacity by 2012 and further reduce the cost of solar electricity,” said Bruce Sohn, President of First Solar. “We look forward to working closely with the Vietnamese authorities in the months and years to come.”

The factory will utilise First Solar’s continuous manufacturing process, which transforms a sheet of glass into a complete solar module in less than 2.5 hours. The factory is designed to maximise energy efficiency, which will contribute to the industry-leading energy payback time and low carbon footprint of First Solar’s thin-film modules.

The factory will also include a recycling plant, a key feature of First Solar’s commitment to cradle-to-cradle life cycle management and extended producer responsibility. The process currently recovers up to 90% of a module’s semiconductor materials and glass, by weight, for use in new solar modules and glass products.

The Dong Nam Industrial Park is a 342 hectare business development zone around 25 kilometres north of Ho Chi Minh City.

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