With an initial annual capacity of more than 100MWp, the plant will produce solar panels made with First Solar's advanced, thin-film photovoltaic (PV) technology. This new venture will support the recently announced goal of the French government to become a leader in sustainable energy technologies including solar electricity. At full production, projected for the second half of 2011, the plant will 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 EUR 90 million. The initial annualised capacity of the plant is expected to exceed 100MWp, making it the largest manufacturing facility for solar panels in France. EDF Energies Nouvelles 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 EDF EN say they intend to announce their decision on the site location within the next few months.
First Solar's manufacturing site will also reportedly include a facility for recycling solar panels, France's first such facility and Europe's only solar panel recycling plant outside of Germany.