First Solar to invest $ 1 billion to build factory in HCM City

HCM CITY, Jan 22, 2011. The largest US-based manufacturer of solar panels, First Solar, was yesterday granted an investment licence for its US$ 1 billion project to build a factory in HCM City.

The plant will be built in Dong Nam Industrial Zone in Cu Chi District and produce thin-film solar modules. The company hopes the facility, together with similar facilities worldwide, will generate 2.7GW of energy a year.

The plant is expected to be operational by the middle of next year.

During the first phase, the plant will operate four manufacturing lines capable of producing an annual total capacity of 238MW. The capacity is expected to quadruple during the next phase.

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According to the draft of the investment certificate of the project that was obtained by the Saigon Times Daily, the factory will be built on an area of 44.2 hectares with total investment capital of slightly over VND19.6 trillion, or over US$ 1 billion.

For the first time in Vietnam, First Solar Vietnam Manufacturing Co. Ltd. under the U.S-based First Solar Technology Group will produce thin-film photovoltaic power modules with total power capacity of up to 1,080 MW each year.

Furthermore, according to the project summary, the company will also supply other after-sale services, repair and maintenance for the photovoltaic solar modules produced by First Solar without fee.

Dong Nam is a newly-built industrial park covering some 287 hectares in Binh My Ward of the outlying Cu Chi District.

The summary of the draft investment certificate says the operational time of the whole project is 50 years since the investment license is handed. The project developer will construct the first-phase factory within 19 months starting from February 2011, then the first solar power panels will expectedly be produced by September 2012.

Between February 2013 and April 2014, First Solar Vietnam will expand the manufacturing scale so as the whole committed capital of the project will be entirely disbursed by December 2015.

Also according to the draft, First Solar Vietnam will enjoy a soft corporate income tax of 10% applicable to high-tech projects. Furthermore, it will be exempted from this tax in the first four years upon having taxable income, and a 50% reduction in the following nine years.

Saigon Times Daily, Jan 22, 2011