Biden Climate Law Spurs Suniva’s US Solar Factory Restart



U.S. solar manufacturer Suniva will restart its Georgia cell factory next year due to incentives in President Joe Biden’s climate law. The company is the latest to commit to new U.S. solar production capacity since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which subsidizes domestic manufacturing of clean energy equipment. The Georgia facility will start producing solar cells next spring, with an initial production capacity of 1 gigawatt per year, enough to power about 173,000 homes, and aims to create up to 240 jobs in its first phase.

US Solar Manufacturer Suniva Restarting Georgia Factory, Thanks to Incentives in Biden’s Climate Law

US solar manufacturer Suniva, known for successfully pushing for tariffs on inexpensive, overseas-made panels, plans to restart its Georgia factory next year. This move comes as a result of incentives present in President Joe Biden’s landmark climate law, shared Suniva’s President in a recent interview.

Since the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was passed last year, Suniva joins a growing list of companies committing to new US solar production capacity. The Act subsidizes the domestic manufacturing of clean energy equipment, thereby boosting the US solar industry.

As Suniva’s President, Matt Card, emphasized, “Solar cells can succeed in this market. We’re proving that and we’re coming back in a major way very, very quickly.” With plans to begin producing solar cells at its Norcross, Georgia facility next spring, the company is anticipating an initial production capacity of 1 gigawatt per year. This is sufficient to power around 173,000 homes, with expansion plans on the horizon.

With several potential customers in advanced negotiations, Suniva expects to contract most of its supply before the factory’s opening 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. OIC had also committed capital this year to Canadian solar manufacturer Heliene for a new US cell and panel factory in Minnesota.

The IRA has been instrumental in enabling Suniva to produce solar cells again. The Act allows projects using panels containing domestically-produced cells to qualify for an IRA tax credit worth 10% of a facility’s cost for using American-made equipment. This “bonus” is in addition to a 30% tax credit for renewable energy facilities.

John Podesta, a White House senior advisor on clean energy policy, hailed this development as a testament to the Inflation Reduction Act’s ability to invigorate the American solar industry. “After closing during the last administration, Bidenomics is bringing this plant back to life,” he said.

Following similar moves, Italy’s Enel and South Korea’s Hanwha also announced plans to set up solar cell manufacturing operations in the US in recent months.

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