As the tide of photovoltaics (PV) projects continues to grow around the world, the first factory to produce solar panels in Vietnam has now started-up in the Duc Hoa Industrial Park in southern Long An province.

The factory, owned by the Red Sun Energy Joint Stock Company (RedSun), began production by the close of April and will soon be marketing its solar panels, it is thought.

According to reports, RedSun’s General Director Diep Bao Canh has suggested the solar panels have the capacity to produce between 80Wp-165Wp of power and will last for 25 years. During the first phase from 2009-2010, the factory is to manufacture products that can generate 5MWp or 4 million kWh of electricity per year.

A second phase is set to see the factory raise its capacity to produce panels that will be able to produce 25MWp per year, while it is believed that some of the raw materials needed to produce the panels are available domestically.

RedSun is the result of a joint initiative between Ho Chi Minh City and the Rhone-Alpes region of France, and intends to lay the foundations of Vietnam's solar cell industry as the PV-electronics trend continues to gather pace and increase industrial gas consumption.

Almost 40% of the panels produced are expected to be sold on the home market, while the remaining 60% are to be available for export, according to a report by Asia Pulse.