Universal Solar bids to solve PV supply chain constraints with Panama module facility

The facility in Panama (pictured) will have an initial line capacity of 600MW. Image: Universal Solar.

US module manufacturer Universal Solar is developing a module manufacturing plant in Panama with an initial capacity of 600MW, targeting supply lines disrupted by policy headwinds.

The facility will produce mono PERC modules and the first products to come off the line will have an output of 350 – 545W. Modules are slated to have efficiencies of up to 21.46%, while some will feature half-cell technology, Universal Solar said.

The manufacturer is to offer linear power output warranties of up to 30 years alongside a 12 to 15-year material and workmanship warranty.

While Universal Solar has not disclosed any upstream suppliers for components such as cells – however it does stress all bill of materials are obtained from ‘tier one OEMs’ – the company has confirmed that its products will be fully compliant with the US Department of Commerce’s withhold and release order which restricts imports on products linked to polysilicon produced by Hoshine.

Furthermore, Universal Solar has said shipments from the Panama facility will be capable of reaching any US port within around five days.

The location for the facility was chosen due both to the strength of its position for international shipping and the presence of a long-standing free trade agreement between the US and Panama, reducing the risk of import duties being imposed on products in the future.

Universal Solar CEO John Bereckis said the capacity would address the current challenges facing the solar industry in the US and elsewhere today.

“The prospect of tariffs on additional Asian countries has thrown the supply chain into turmoil, despite the Biden administration’s two-year pause. Modules from Central America will give U.S. developers a much-needed alternative,” he added.

Universal expects to deliver its first shipments in Q4 this year and has already signed master service agreements for more than 400MW. Negotiations are underway for an additional 175MW, the company said.

29 November 2022
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