Suniva, the U.S. solar manufacturer known for its successful push for tariffs on overseas panels, is set to reboot its Georgia cell factory next year.
This move is fueled by incentives in President Joe Biden’s climate law, according to the company’s president, Matt Card.
Suniva’s commitment to new U.S. solar production capacity follows the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last year, which subsidizes domestic manufacturing of clean energy equipment.
“Solar cells can succeed in this market. We’re proving that and we’re coming back in a major way very, very quickly,” Card said.
This is a significant step for Suniva, which filed for bankruptcy six years ago due to its struggle to compete with low-priced imports, primarily from China.
The company plans to start producing solar cells at its Norcross, Georgia, facility next spring. The initial production capacity is projected to be 1 gigawatt per year, enough to power about 173,000 homes, with plans for expansion.
Suniva is currently in “advanced negotiations” with potential customers and expects to have most of its supply contracted before the factory opens next year. The company secured a $110 million financing commitment from New York investment fund Orion Infrastructure Capital (OIC) earlier this year for its expansion.
Despite opposition from solar project developers, Suniva’s Card believes the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration in 2018 have boosted U.S. panel production over the last five years. However, he credits the IRA subsidies for finally enabling Suniva to produce solar cells again.
John Podesta, a White House senior advisor on clean energy policy, said, “This announcement shows the Inflation Reduction Act’s power in writing a new chapter for the American solar industry.”
“After closing during the last administration, Bidenomics is bringing this plant back to life.”
Other global players like Italy’s Enel and South Korea’s Hanwha have also announced plans to set up solar cell manufacturing in the U.S. in recent months.