France goes solar

EDF Energies Nouvelles and First Solar have signed an agreement to build the largest solar-panel manufacturing plant in France.


With an initial annual capacity of more than 100MWp, the plant will produce solar panels made with First Solar’s thin-film photovoltaic technology.


When the plant is operating at full production capacity, which it should be by the second half of 2011, it will employ more than 300 people.


Under the terms of the agreement between the two companies, First Solar will build and operate the plant with EDF Energies Nouvelles financing half of the €90m (£78m) capital expense and plant start-up costs.


EDF will benefit from the plant’s entire output for the first 10 years.


The new manufacturing site will also include a facility for recycling solar panels, France‘s first such facility and Europe’s only solar-panel recycling plant outside Germany.


Within the next few months, First Solar and EDF Energies Nouvelles will say where the site will be located.