The United States has a pretty good amount of domestic solar module manufacturers. What the U.S. lacks is the on-shore supply of the components that comprise those modules, like silicon wafers, which are needed to create solar cells. Currently there is no high-volume silicon wafer production in the United States. The hope is the domestic manufacturing incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will start to change that, and that hope is starting to turn into reality.
CubicPV, a wafer manufacturer, announced plans to establish 10 GW of conventional mono wafer capacity in the United States — the first facility of this scale to be announced in the United States.
“The IRA represents a titanic shift in the global solar landscape, and the U.S. is poised to become the world’s most competitive location to manufacture solar. We’re excited to have a role in the U.S. manufacturing renaissance, while accelerating our business plan and supporting the development of our next generation tandem module technology,” said Frank van Mierlo, CEO, Cubic.
Cubic has started facility design, engaged with a construction management firm, and is currently in advanced discussions specific to the location for the facility. The company expects to finalize the site choice during the first quarter of 2023 and start construction soon after.
Construction is anticipated to be completed in 2024 and the factory to be fully ramped in 2025.
Cubic will also accelerate its R&D activities at this facility specific to tandem module development, recently raising $26M in Series B financing for the effort. Private equity fund manager Synergy Capital and SCG Cleanergy, a wholly owned subsidiary of SCG, ASEAN’s leading conglomerate, led the round and were joined by return lead investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Hunt Energy Enterprises.
Single junction PV technology is approaching a module efficiency ceiling. Tandem PV technology layers two light absorbers into one device, thereby raising the efficiency limits of single junction device and boosting the power output of the end panel. Cubic’s approach to tandem uses the company’s Direct Wafer and perovskite technologies.
“Synergy is convinced of the power of tandem and its promise to underpin the next era of solar growth. With Direct Wafer and perovskite, Cubic has the key technologies to capture that growth. We are excited to lend our support as the Company establishes its U.S. footprint and drives toward tandem commercialization,” said Sudhir Maheshwari, Managing Partner, Synergy Capital.
— Solar Builder magazine