Solar developer to invest over $600M toward Ohio manufacturing plant

Dive Brief:

  • Invenergy is investing over $600 million through Illuminate USA to build a solar panel production facility in Pataskala, Ohio, according to a March 10 press release.
  • The investment will include a $220 million commitment to acquire and build out a 1.1 million-square-foot building and will utilize 150 union jobs for construction, which will begin in April.
  • Operations are expected to commence by the end of 2023, creating 850 administrative, assembly and engineering jobs. Additionally, Invenergy will work with solar company LONGi to produce solar panels through Illuminate USA.

Dive Insight:

There’s a demand for renewable energy, especially after the U.S. enacted the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022. The law incentivizes solar panel and EV manufacturers in the country to expand their operations.

When the Pataskala plant begins operations by the end of this year, the facility will produce up to 5 gigawatts of solar module capacity yearly.

Invenergy recognizes “the importance of having a strong domestic supply chain to meet the fast-growing demand for affordable solar power,” Art Fletcher, EVP of global sourcing, said in a statement.

Illuminate USA is partnering with JobsOhio and One Columbus to develop training and skills development programs as well as support recruiting efforts. Furthermore, Illuminate USA will sponsor local events, work with local schools and universities and boost its research and development at the Pataskala facility.

Other companies have announced projects due to the Inflation Reduction Act’s incentive for clean production. First Solar is investing $1.3 billion in expanding its manufacturing operations in Ohio. Georges Antoun, the company’s chief commercial officer, told Utility Dive that while the Inflation Reduction Act was an incentive to expand, it wasn’t the only reason behind the decision.

“Even before IRA was announced, we saw unprecedented demand from customers seeking the long-term pricing and supply certainty that has come to be our competitive differentiator,” Antoun said.

The Inflation Reduction Act will draw in more U.S. investments like the one Q Cells announced in January, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. The South Korea-based energy company said it will spend over $2.5 billion on a solar manufacturing plant in Georgia.