The US looks set to get its first solar-driven hydrogen (H2) production plant as dedicated H2 company Nel ASA announces plans to build and operate the site in California.

The Norwegian company revealed that it has sign a Letter of Intent (LoI) to establish a joint venture (JV) with a leading global solar corporation, which will help to engineer the solar-driven facility. The partner was not identified.

The project is thought to be the first step towards large-scale commercial renewable H2 production, which will help to meet expected demand for renewable H2 in California and throughout the US.

The agreement is expected to be finalised before the year is through, with the JV aiming to begin production and delivery of renewable H2 during the second half of 2017.

Nel’s CEO Jon André Løkke, commented on the importance of the project and said, “Given the requirement from the government in California for 33% renewable H2 in the transport sector, we are confident that this will become an attractive market for our joint technology solutions.”

It is understood that the parties are already exploring additional sites in California for renewable H2 production on a larger scale.

Nel recently reported revenues in its third-quarter 2016 financials of NOK 24.4m ($3m), sequentially up from NOK 13.5m ($1.6m), with a solid order backlog going into 2017.