The Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has approved a pre-feasibility study for the construction of the first phase of First Solar's 30MW thin-film solar power plant located in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia. This phase marks the beginning of 2GW which are to be implemented in the area through 2019.
First Solar signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the project with the Chinese government back in September 2009. The MOU stipulates that the parties will jointly invest 4 – 60 billion U.S. dollars in order to scale up to 2GW in Ordos city. The project's 30MW stage is expected to be completed as soon as possible while the second, third, and fourth phases will comprise 100MW, 870MW, and 1GW, respectively, with phases two and three scheduled for completion in 2014, and the final phase finished by 2019.
“The approval from NDRC represents an encouraging step towards the mass-scale project. Key task for now is working on feasibility study reports, then to enter a new round of approval,” reported by Chinese website 21cbh.com.
The Ordos project's demonstration installation was scheduled to begin construction on June 1, 2010. However, due to the industry's doubt surrounding the costs of thin-film technology and construction, the project was delayed without acceptance from the NDRC.
However, First Solar cleared this hurdle by educating 1.5 million people on its technology at the Shanghai World Expo 2010. Executive vice president of marketing and product management at First Solar, TK Kallenbach said, “The Shanghai World Expo has been a tremendous success and First Solar is very proud to be involved and supporting Inner Mongolia in highlighting the role of advanced solar energy technology in sustainable development.”
“We will continue to advance solar PV technology utilizing our global experience in order to reduce costs while generating energy in an environmentally sustainable way.”
Once the entire project enters into operation it will become the world's largest photovoltaic power plant, the scale 20 times larger than the 80MW Sarnia plant in Canada.
The company has also recently incorporated the First Solar (Beijing) Management Consultancy, which has the potential to become its next major investment department in China.