India’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) module maker is moving some of its manufacturing to the U.S. Mumbai-based Waaree Energies on Dec. 21 said it would build its first U.S.-based facility in Brookshire, Texas, near Houston.
Waaree, a major equipment supplier for the U.S. solar power sector, on Thursday said the new plant would have an initial manufacturing capacity of 3 GW of solar modules annually by year-end 2024. Waaree, which to date has supplied more than 4 GW of India-manufacturer solar modules to U.S. customers, also plans to add an integrated U.S.-based solar cell manufacturing facility that would be operational in the next two years.
“Waaree is excited to announce our investment of up to $1 billion over the next four years to expand our annual module manufacturing production to 5 GW by 2027, establishing one of the largest solar module manufacturing facilities in the U.S.,” said Sunil Rathi, Waaree’s head of U.S. business operations. Sunil told POWER, “With these advancements, our new facility is expected to generate over 1,500 jobs in the U.S. when operating at full capacity. Our decision to establish a solar manufacturing plant in Texas reflects our unwavering commitment to meet the growing demand for clean energy in the U.S. We take pride in sourcing the majority of our major components domestically, a possibility facilitated in part by the Inflation Reduction Act.”
The company said its U.S. expansion is tied to a long-term supply agreement with SB Energy, a group backed by SoftBank, a Japan-based multinational finance and business conglomerate. SB Energy, headquartered in Redwood City, California, focuses on a climate infrastructure and technology platform. The company is currently operating more than 2 GW of solar power generation capacity, with another 1 GW under construction. SB also has more than 15 GW of solar-plus-storage capacity in development across the U.S.
Waaree said it will supply “multi gigawatts” of solar modules to SB Energy over the next five years from the new Texas facility.
“Over the course of its operations, Waaree has achieved a remarkable feat by providing a total of over 4 GW of modules to its esteemed customers in the U.S.,” said Rathi. “This significant accomplishment has been made possible through the utilization of Waaree’s existing manufacturing facility located in India. By effectively leveraging its expertise and cutting-edge production capabilities, Waaree has consistently fulfilled the demands of its valued customers in the U.S. [and] solidified its position as a trusted and reliable partner in the American solar energy market.”
“We are proud of this significant commitment by Waaree to U.S. domestic solar manufacturing,” said Hitesh Doshi, Waaree’s chairman and managing director Hitesh Doshi. “In partnership with a company of SB Energy’s mission and stature, Waaree is fostering a solar manufacturing ecosystem in Texas, a state that has taken a leading position in clean energy manufacturing.”
Abhijeet Sathe, co-CEO of SB Energy, said, “We are delighted to expand our U.S. supply chain with Waaree, a leading global supplier of solar modules. Through our long-term supply agreements, we are proud to support the growing U.S. solar supply chain and well-paying manufacturing jobs. Waaree brings a proven track record of delivering superior technology to some of the largest solar projects in the U.S. and India.”
SB Energy last month said it has lined up $1.9 billion in financing for solar initiatives, including building four solar power projects in Texas. The company said the projects, which in total represent 1.3 GW generation capacity, are among the first in the U.S. to qualify for federal tax credits tied to buying components made in America. Those credits are part of the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, the legislation passed last year that is designed to support domestic manufacturing of energy equipment.
Much of the energy from the Texas solar farms will be purchased by Google to power that company’s data centers in the state.
Rathi told POWER, “This strategic move allows us to bring critical technologies that will bolster American solar production, reducing reliance on overseas sources and fostering the creation of robust U.S. employment opportunities. Waaree remains dedicated to the U.S. market and actively contributes to its transition towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.”
Waaree Energies is the flagship company of the Waaree Group. It was founded in 1989, and today manufactures as much as 12 GW of solar PV modules each year. The company currently has four solar module manufacturing facilities, with a presence in more than 250 locations in India, along with 20 countries outside India.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).