The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has given the nod to the US-based First Solar Group to build a solar cell plant in the South-East Industrial Zone of Cu Chi district.

Le Thanh Hai, Politburo member and secretary of the municipal Party Committee handed over the investment certificate to the group on Jan. 21.

As the largest foreign-invested project in HCM City in 2010, the one billion-plus USD plant will produce thin-film solar power panels.

According to Tymen DeJong, the group’s Vice Chairman in charge of global production, the first phase of the project will be kicked off on Jan. 24 at a cost of 300 million USD and include four lines.

The project’s capacity will be raised four times in the next phase, he said, adding that the plant is scheduled to be officially put into operation by mid-2012.

The project is of significance to HCM City , where the demand for energy, especially electric power is great and decisive to the city’s development, said Le Hoang Quan, Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, underlining the importance of the project.

He also spoke highly of First Solar Group’s position as the world’s largest thin-film solar power panel producer, taking the lead in using clean, green materials for its production.

The large-scale project reveals the improved investment environment of HCM City and the city’s investment policies that target areas of science, environmental protection and high added value.

First Solar Group was established in 1999 and began commercial production in 2002./.