(Reuters) - First Solar Inc <FSLR.O> appointed Bruce Yung as managing director of business development for China as the largest U.S. solar panel maker looks to expand in the country.

China is looking to aggressively scale up its solar market. The country last month hiked its 2015 target for solar power capacity by 40 percent to about 21 gigawatt (GW), the third increase in just over a year.

The appointment will help expand the market for utility-scale solar power plants in China, First Solar said in a statement.

Yung, who has 25 years of experience in the energy industry, was most recently managing director of China Renewable Energy Investment Ltd, a renewable energy company focused on China.

Yung, who will be based in Beijing, has previously worked with BP Plc <BP.L>, Entergy <ETR.N> and British Gas.

In a separate statement, First Solar said it would build solar projects totaling 20 megawatts for PNM Resources Inc <PNM.N> in New Mexico.

First Solar shares were up 2 percent before the bell. The stock, which has risen 40 percent in the last three months, closed at $20.90 on Wednesday on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)