Canadian Solar and Flex open 400MW Brazil PV factory

Canadian Solar and contract manufacturer Flex have inaugurated a 400MW module-assembly plant in Brazil, the country’s first large-scale solar manufacturing facility owned by a top-tier solar company.

Singapore-based Flex, a growing player in the solar industry, owns the building and will operate the production lines for Canadian Solar. A total of R$80m ($23m) was invested in the fabrication lines, according to state development agency Investe São Paulo.

Brazil’s National Development Bank (BNDES) confirmed that Flex will oversee the production of Canadian Solar’s polycrystalline CS6U-P panel models at the facility, which range from 315W to 330W of nominal capacity.

Located in the town of Sorocaba in the state of São Paulo, the plant was officially opened in the presence of state governor Geraldo Alckmin. Canadian Solar received support from Investe São Paulo and federal investment agency Apex-Brasil.

“Jobs are being created and a large investment is being made in an area which can help Brazil get back to economic growth,” Alckmin said. “A tropical country like Brazil has everything it needs to grow its solar market.”

As Recharge reported in April, Canadian Solar will be the only tier-one PV manufacturer to open a facility in Brazil this year. China’s BYD is building a 200MW plant in São Paulo state but it is not expected to open until early 2017.

This early-mover advantage will make Canadian Solar the first module maker qualified to supply projects financed by the BNDES, with some 3GW of solar capacity having received contracts in Brazil in 2014 and 2015.

Some 700MW of that 3GW is Canadian Solar’s own projects in the country, 191MW of which will be built by France’s EDF Energies Nouvelles.

Canadian Solar didn’t immediately confirm details of the plant’s activities or whether it already had firm orders from other clients.

The new plant will also possibly allow Canadian Solar to bid in an upcoming renewables tender scheduled for 19 December.

BNDES says Canadian Solar has reached a local-content factor of 66%, which means it is on track to comply with the minimum sourcing rules by December 2017. The higher the local-content amount the better financing conditions panel buyers can obtain from the BNDES, which is offering to finance up to 80% of a project’s capital expenditures.

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