Canadian Solar Inc. is building its first plant in Brazil. The facility in Sorocaba, in the state of Sao Paulo, will be able to assemble about 350MW of panels a year, according to Wladimir Janousek, general manager of the company's Brazil unit. The Guelph is expected to announce Friday that it's investing about 80 million reais ($23 million) in the facility.
It's expected to begin production in September and will initially supply panels for power plants Canadian Solar is developing in the country. For the first six months, the plant will provide panels only for Canadian Solar projects. After that, the company will be able to supply about 100MW of components a year to other developers.
Canadian Solar has won contracts to sell power from 400 megawatts of solar farms it's developing in Brazil. Opening a factory will help it pursue financing from Brazil's development bank BNDES. The country is seeking to create a domestic manufacturing industry and has announced plans to ban solar-cell imports by the end of the decade. BNDES has yet to approve any financing deals for solar projects.
The factory will use manufacturing equipment that Flextronics International Ltd. made using Canadian Solar's technology. Canadian Solar has plans to double the factory's production capacity to meet growing demand for solar power and will also continue participating in Brazil's auctions as it develops solar farms in the country.