IIT-Madras Research Park Signs Thin Film R& D MoU with First Solar

IIT Madras Research Park (IITMRP), India’s first university-based research park, today announced that it  has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR), the largest American  photovoltaic (PV) solar manufacturer(First Solar).

The two organizations intend to cooperate on a range of  research and development (R&D) activities including the localization of supply chains in India of thin film and other next-generation PV technologies, high-volume manufacturing, testing of PV modules, and high- value recycling.

Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, President – IIT Madras Research Park, IITM Incubation Cell & RTBI, said, “First  Solar is the world leader in thin film solar and its knowledge and track record in both R&  D and high  volume manufacturing represents a tremendous opportunity for India, which is working to secure its clean energy supply chains. First Solar has demonstrated the potential of thin film to counter China’s  dominance of crystalline silicon with high performance solar panels that are competitive, sustainable, and  responsibly produced. We are pleased to collaborate with the company to broaden our understanding of  its technology, while sharing our expertise in renewables.”

Unique among the world’s ten largest solar manufacturers for being the only US-headquartered company, for not using a crystalline silicon (c-Si) semiconductor, and for not manufacturing in China, First Solar produces its thin film PV modules using a fully integrated, continuous process under one roof and does not  rely on Chinese c-Si supply chains. The company’s eco-efficient module technology, which uses its proprietary Cadmium Telluride (CadTel) semiconductor, has the lowest carbon and water footprints of any PV module available today.

Kuntal Kumar Verma, Chief Manufacturing Officer, First Solar, on the MoU  said, “First Solar has a long history of investments in R&D and partnerships with leading academic  institutions around the world and we’re thrilled to initiate what we anticipate will be a robust partnership  with the IIT Madras Research Park,” said Kuntal Kumar Verma, chief manufacturing officer, First Solar. “The MoU covers a number of areas that directly support India’s decarbonization, energy independence, and  sustainability goals and we would be pleased to share our experience, while also benefitting from the  institution’s expertise in areas such as field testing.”

In 2021, First Solar announced that it would invest in a  new full vertically integrated thin film solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu with an annual capacity of  3.3 gigawatts (GW)DC. The facility, located in Pillaipakkam, Tamil Nadu, is expected to be commissioned in  the second half of 2023