Helios Resource to launch new solar panel fab in Russia

Moscow-based Helios Resource is set to launch one of the largest solar panel production facilities in Russia this year.

Helios, one of Russia’s leading manufacturers of solar panels, is setting up the new fab in the country’s Mordovia Republic.

The full-cycle production line is scheduled to launch in April with an initial capacity of 100 MW per year at the local Electrovypryamitel plant. Helios is expected to increase capacity to 200 MW in the second stage of the project, financial details of which were not disclosed.

Analysts and industry watchers welcomed the new project. According to the director of the Russian Association of Solar Energy, Anton Usachev, the establishment of a production facility for components and solar panels in Russia is significant in view of government plans to increase total solar power generation to 1.5 GW by 2020.

Usachev added that at present total solar panel capacity in Russia did not exceed 10 MW, while the country’s total energy capacity was at 223 GW.

Russian analysts are confident that the new Helios plant will not be the single new project in the field of solar energy to be implemented in Russia in the next several years, as investor interest in the country is steadily growing.

However, there is a possibility that projects could be delayed, as some foreign investors are unhappy about the current level of local content requirements for their Russian projects, which is currently set at 50% and set to rise to 70% by 2016.