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First Solar leaving Vietnam, blames low global demand

American manufacturer of solar power panels, First Solar, is pulling out of Vietnam and has said it is selling its factory in Ho Chi Minh City.

Brandon Mitchener, its director of foreign affairs, said the decision was due to the low global demand for solar power.

The factory in the Dong Nam Industrial Zone in Cu Chi District was built just last April.

Cushman & Wakefield Vietnam, the property company that First Solar has hired to handle the sale, said several investors are interested in the factory either in its entirety or parts of it.

First Solar, one of the US's three largest solar panel manufacturers, had invested around US$300 million out of an estimated total of $1.2 billion.

The factory, the first of its kind in Vietnam, was expected to become operational in the second half of this year, producing panels with a capacity of 250 megawatts a year.

A 60x120 sq.m panel costs $100-150, unaffordable in Vietnam, so the company had initially planned to export its products to the US and Europe.

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