SANTA CLARA, CA—Sunpreme, a solar cell and bifacial panel maker, has announced plans to build a Texas manufacturing facility in 2019. Envisioned in two phases, the plant’s capacity will eventually ramp to 400 megawatts of production.
Sunpreme expects the first 136-megawatt phase to come online early this year, with an additional 260 megawatts added later in 2019, depending on funding streams. According to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, it’s the first investment in added U.S. cell capacity following the Section 201 tariff announcement by the Trump Administration.
Sunpreme cited three reasons for the decision: Its major customer base in the U.S., a 2016 SunShot grant to develop low-cost copper metallization and tariffs.
“We are trying to build the product for allowing us to have zero tariffs,” says Surinder Bedi, Sunpreme’s executive vice president of global business development, system products and quality and reliability. “It has been a very significant impact. That’s one of the important motivations.”