Longi reveals plans to open 5 GW solar module factory in US market


Chinese panel maker Longi Solar and US solar project developer Invenergy have agreed to jointly construct a 5 GW solar panel factory in Pataskala, Ohio, via a newly founded company, Illuminate USA. A press release from Illuminate USA says the plan will cost USD 220 million ($332.5 million). Invenergy said it has invested USD 600 million in the facility.

Illuminate USA says that the construction of the facility will generate 150 jobs. Once it is up and running, it will require 850 individuals to keep it going. The factory will make single and bifacial solar modules.

Invenergy’s involvement with solar panel manufacturing follows an emerging pattern in the US market. According to the Solar Energy Industries of America “Solar & Storage Supply Chain Dashboard,” Invenergy’s total US solar module assembly fleet is above 58 GW. That figure includes proposed facilities, as well as facilities being constructed or expanded, and excludes capacity from Longi.

According to Longi’s quarterly presentations, the company hopes to reach 85 GW of solar panel manufacturing capacity by the end of 2023. This would make it the world’s largest solar panel assembly company. It is already one of the largest solar wafer and cell manufacturers.

The recently signed Inflation Reduction Act offers solar panel manufacturers a collection of incentives for manufacturing solar hardware in the US:

  • Solar cells – USD 0.04 per watt (DC) of capacity
  • Solar wafers – USD 12 per square meter
  • Solar grade polysilicon – USD 3 per kilogram
  • Polymeric backsheet – USD 0.40 per square meter
  • Solar modules – USD 0.07 per direct current watt of capacity

Data from BloombergNEF suggests that in the US, solar module assembly costs roughly USD 84 million for each gigawatt of annual manufacturing capacity. The machines assembling modules cost approximately USD 23 million per gigawatt, and the remaining costs go towards facility construction.

pv magazine’s Vincent Shaw said the machines used in standard Chinese monoPERC manufacturing lines deployed in China cost approximately $8.7 million per gigawatt.

A 10 GW solar panel manufacturing facility built by Longi cost USD 349 million in 2022, excluding real estate costs.

In 2022, Longi announced a $6.7 billion solar campus that will manufacture 100 GW of solar wafers and 50 GW of solar cells per year

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