Vikram Solar plans U.S.-based solar ingot, wafer, cell and module manufacturing

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Vikram Solar, Phalanx Impact Partners, and Das & Co. formed a new U.S. joint venture and majority U.S.-owned and operated company – VSK Energy LLC – to develop a vertically integrated solar manufacturing operation for the Indian solar module brand in the United States.

The $1.5 billion investment includes two planned projects that will produce fully assembled modules as well as ingots, wafers and solar cells. That last piece is huge, considering 1) how rare ingot, wafer and cell supply is in the United States right now, and 2) how important that U.S. supply could be in achieving the domestic content tax credit adder.

Sriram Das, Co-Chairman of VSK Energy and Managing Director of Das & Co., pointed right to the Inflation Reduction Act as a key factor in the decision.

“The Biden Administration and Congress have called for immediate action and through our partnership in VSK, we are taking a decisive step towards achieving solar technology self-sufficiency, fortifying America’s energy security, and propelling large-scale solar deployment,” Das stated. “I am also particularly proud to bring together leaders from both the United States and India to make this investment and commitment to America’s clean energy future.”

Mortenson, a leading solar engineering, procurement, construction, and commercial contracting firm, will oversee the engineering and construction of both phases of VSK Energy’s planned investment. Mortenson has nearly 70 years of experience building large, complex facilities.

“Mortenson is thrilled and honored to spearhead the design and construction of this ambitious and transformative project for VSK Energy,” said Brad Heitland, Director of Business Development for Mortenson.

Phase one: PV module assembly in Colorado

The first phase of the investment consists of a $250 million PV module manufacturing facility in Brighton, Colo., which is owned by Mortenson Properties and Hyde Development. The new factory is expected to create over 900 direct jobs with an average salary of more than $70,000 and over 200 construction jobs. VSK Energy expects the facility to commence operations in 2024 with an initial capacity of 2 GW in solar PV modules and planned expansion of up to 4 GW.

Cleantech in Colorado contributes $4.6 billion per year to the state’s economy and employs over 62,000 Colorado workers, according to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).

“Colorado is one of the top states in the country for solar production so this expansion in Brighton will help build upon our plans to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040, create more than 900 new good-paying jobs for Coloradans and contribute to our state’s thriving economy,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis.

Phase 2: Ingots, wafers, cells in the South

The planned second phase includes the development of a factory in a Southern U.S. state to be named later to produce solar ingots, cells, and wafers with a planned annual capacity of 4 GW. VSK Energy intends to invest up to $1.25 billion in the new factory which is expected to commence operations in 2025 following the evaluation and finalization of available federal, state, regional, and local incentives for the project. The new factory is expected to create over 1,500 direct jobs and over 1,000 construction jobs.

“Vikram Solar is proud to be part of this monumental endeavor with the rest of the VSK team,” said Gyanesh Chaudhary, Founder, Chairman, and Managing Director of Vikram Solar. “With our 17 years of experience in solar manufacturing, combined with the VSK team’s commitment to a clean energy future, we look forward to driving the solar industry forward and setting a new benchmark for innovation and efficiency in solar manufacturing in the United States.”

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