Vikram Solar forms JV to build vertically integrated solar manufacturing in the US

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Vikram Solar’s JV in the US will come in two phases, starting with a 2GW module assembly plant in 2024. Image: Vikram Solar.

Indian module manufacturer Vikram Solar has formed a joint venture (JV) with private equity firm Phalanx Impact Partners and venture capital company Das & Co. to develop a vertically integrated solar manufacturing operation in the US.

The newly formed JV – named VSK Energy – will invest up to US$1.5 billion in two phases of construction, with the first phase consisting of a module assembly plant in Brighton, Colorado with a US$250 million investment. Operations are expected to start in 2024 with an initial annual capacity of 2GW with a planned expansion of up to 4GW of annual capacity.

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Mortenson will act as the engineering, procurement and commercial (EPC) contractor for both phases of the project.

During the second phase, VSK Energy will complete the vertical integration of the solar manufacturing process with the development of a plant for the production of cells, ingots and wafers with an annual capacity of 4GW. The location for this plant has yet to be revealed but will be in a Southern US state. It is expected to start operations in 2025 with an investment of up to US$1.25 billion.

Gyanesh Chaudhary, founder, chairman and managing director at Vikram Solar, said: “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.”

Since the signing into law of the Inflation Reduction Act, several international players have announced plans to build solar manufacturing plants in the US, among them Qcells parent company Hanwha Solution, expanding its footprint in the US with a fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing supply chain and an investment of US$2.5 billion, and Solar Module Super League (SMSL) member LONGi which partnered with renewables developer Invenergy to develop a module assembly plant in Ohio with a 5GW annual capacity.

“The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act was a landmark moment for the clean energy future of the United States,” said Sriram Das, co-chairman at VSK Energy and managing director at Das & Co. “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. 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.”

In India, Vikram Solar was among the companies that was awarded capacity in the second round of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) for 1GW of solar cells and module capacity.

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