Maxeon Solar Technologies Ltd. plans to spend $1.2 billion to build the biggest US factory for polysilicon solar panels, as President Joe Biden’s landmark climate legislation continues to boost domestic clean-energy manufacturing.
Construction on the plant in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is set to start in the first quarter with production expected to begin in 2025, the Singapore-based firm said Thursday in a statement. The facility will be able to produce as much as 3 gigawatts of solar cells and panels a year, doubling Maxeon’s manufacturing capacity. A gigawatt is enough to power about 173,000 American homes.
The move comes as clean-energy investments have surged since Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act was passed a year ago, providing generous incentives aimed at boosting domestic manufacturing. Developers and suppliers have committed more than $270 billion in the past 12 months, more than the combined total of the prior eight years, according to the American Clean Power Association. The incentives were a key driver in Maxeon’s choice to build out its US production capacity, according to Chief Executive Officer Bill Mulligan.
“I’ve never seen a more favorable policy environment,” Mulligan said in an interview.
First Solar Inc., a rival panel maker, has bigger US factories, but it uses a different technology.
Maxeon has about 2.8 gigawatts of cell production at plants in Malaysia and in the Philippines, where the company plans to add another 500 megawatts of capacity. Surging clean-energy installations — especially in the US, spurred by the IRA — mean Mulligan expects strong demand once the New Mexico site ramps up.
“We’ve reached a tipping point in the world’s conversion to renewables,” he said. “It’s hard to see how that train gets slowed down right now.”
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