Solar developer, owner, and operator Invenergy just made a big investment in the domestic solar PV market — more than $600 million (through Illuminate USA) for a 5 GW facility that will manufacturer LONGi solar modules, the world’s top producer of PV by volume. Construction is slated to begin in April of this year.
“As an American company and a leading developer and operator of solar projects in the U.S., we recognize the importance of having a strong domestic supply chain to meet the fast-growing demand for affordable solar power,” said Art Fletcher, EVP, Global Sourcing at Invenergy. “Invenergy is proud of the role Illuminate USA will play in bringing the highest-quality, domestically produced solar products to market, enhancing our nation’s manufacturing capabilities with a long-term investment that will create at least 850 good-paying jobs for Ohioans.”
Invenergy is the anchor customer of the Illuminate USA joint venture and it will work with manufacturing partner LONGi to panels. The investment will include a $220 million commitment to acquire and build out a 1.1 million-square-foot building in Pataskala, Ohio — a state that is already home to a majority of First Solar’s PV production facilities as well as fellow thin-film module producer Toledo Solar.
That 5 GW capacity represents almost 50% of total U.S. utility-scale solar installations from 2022. Once operational, the Illuminate USA LONGi facility will house at least 850 employees. Operations are expected to commence by the end of 2023 and Illuminate USA will begin hiring this spring.
“Transforming over one million square feet into a state-of-the-art facility capable of producing high-quality U.S. solar products is a job that requires skilled construction professionals,” said Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Columbus/Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council. “We’re proud that the construction of the Illuminate USA facility will support 150 union jobs, as our affiliates and their members continue to set the standard for construction excellence in Ohio.”
Located approximately 20 miles east of Columbus, the Pataskala manufacturing facility is being developed from an existing industrial building, requiring no farmland development. Illuminate USA’s facility represents the company’s long-term commitment to the Greater Columbus and Pataskala community. Illuminate USA is partnering with JobsOhio and One Columbus to develop training and skills development programs and to support recruiting efforts.
“Illuminate USA’s investment is a critical step to establishing a more complete solar power supply chain in the United States as market demand for clean energy grows,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. “These new operations at a more than one million-square-foot facility will amplify Ohio’s role to boost domestic production of solar panels, creating at least 850 new jobs in Pataskala.”
JobsOhio plans to provide assistance for the project, which will be made public after a final agreement is executed. The company intends to deepen its support of the Region through partnerships with local schools and universities, as well as sponsorships of local community events like The Hartford Fair. Illuminate USA also intends to advance research and development efforts at the facility.
Invenergy has an existing strong track record in Ohio and around the world. The company has a portfolio of 775 MW of solar power in the state and has developed more than 6,000 MW of solar projects around the world.
“We are thrilled that Invenergy and Illuminate USA chose Pataskala, Ohio for this major investment,” said Mike Compton, mayor of Pataskala. “The company’s presence will increase the renewable energy landscape in the Region, ultimately adding to our already diverse business ecosystem. This investment is beneficial for the company, the Region, and the community, and we foresee a long-standing partnership between all involved.”
— Solar Builder magazine