jeudi 23 juillet 2009

First solar to build 100 MW Solar factory in France

By Ucilia Wang

First Solar (FSLR) and EDF Energies Nouvelles are teaming up to build a solar panel factory that could be the largest in France.

factory would have an initial capacity to produce at least 100
megawatts of thin-film solar panels per year. Tempe, Ariz.-based First
Solar is the world's largest thin-film solar panel maker, using cadmium
telluride as the main semiconductors for converting sunlight into

EDF Energies Nouvelle [Euronext: EEN] has largely
focused in wind farm development in Europe and the United States. But
the company recently said it also would step up its investment in
solar. State-owned EDF Group is the largest shareholder, owning 50 percent of the company.

Energies Nouvelle said it had raised than €500 million in 2008 to
support its foray into solar, and plans to install 500 megawatts of
photovoltaic power plants by 2012.

The 100-megawatt factory
would cost more than €90 million to build, and EDF Energies Nouvelle
would put in half of the capital and factory startup costs, First Solar
said. That investment would entitle the French company to all of the
factory's products for the first 10 years.

First Solar said the
new solar panel factory is scheduled to reach full production in the
second half of 2011. The two companies plan announce the location of
the factory over the next few months.

France hasn't seen much of
large-scale solar power installations, but the government has created
initiatives to boost them. France has a feed-in tariff policy that
requires utilities to buy solar electricity at premium prices set by
the government. Such policy has helped to turn Germany and Spain into
the world's two largest solar markets.

France installed 88
megawatts of solar power in 2008, and could add another 186 megawatts
in 2009, said Daniela Schreiber, an analyst at EuPD Research, at a
conference in San Francisco in June.

EDF Energies Nouvelle has been First Solar's customer. Last December, EDF Energies Nouvelle said it had commissioned mainland France's largest solar power plant, which is equipped with 7 megawatts worth of First Solar panels.

Solar has factories in Ohio as well as in Germany and Malaysia, and has
been expanding its facilities in Malaysia. Bach in March this year, the
company said it would have more than 1 gigawatt of production capacity
by the end of this year.

First Solar's shares rose about 5.5 percent to reach $159.57 per share in recent trading.

Source : Seeking alpha

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