Universal Solar is bringing a photo voltaic PV module manufacturing facility on-line in Panama earlier than the tip of 2022. This isn’t fairly home photo voltaic module provide, however the Central America location is actually extra conveniently situated to serve U.S. photo voltaic prospects — shipments from the plant will attain any U.S. port in roughly 5 days — and it is freed from any future tariffs and different provide points tied to Asian imports.
“Modules made within the Americas will bypass most of the constraints afflicting the U.S. photo voltaic trade at present, specifically provide points associated to Asian producers,” states Chief Government Officer and Founder John Berecki. “These constraints embody present tariffs and the specter of further tariffs; COVID-related manufacturing facility closures, delivery delays and worth hikes; and the federal ban on merchandise containing silicon sourced from Hoshine, China.”
Berecki and the Common crew started engaged on this over a yr in the past after procuring modules amongst different companies for just a few years. “Manufacturing our personal module was a pure evolution,” he says. Berecki was beforehand president of U.S. improvement at Chint and previous to that president of Boviet Photo voltaic USA.
Why Panama? Regardless of the two-year pause on new tariffs, the long-term dangers stay. Builders on this current survey from LevelTen Power stated as a lot in regard to PPA costs. Certainly, Common selected this facility within the Colón Logistics Park situated within the Colón Container Terminal CCT in Colón, Republic of Panama due to its strategic location and since it’s exempt from tariffs like these affecting modules out of Asia.
“We checked out quite a lot of areas together with Europe, Mexico and the U.S.,” Berecki tells us. “We selected Panama due to its strategic location – each container and product headed to the Pacific US goes by Panama – and due to the present commerce settlement, it’s exempt from tariffs like these affecting modules out of Asia.”
The U.S. has a long-standing Free Commerce Settlement with Panama, and Panama is an instance of “near-shoring” by which U.S. companies find some or all of their operations in nations near residence. This additionally means no Part 201 Tariffs.
“Modules from Central America will give U.S. builders a much-needed different,” Bereckis stated.
Common Photo voltaic is taking orders for modules now, with supply anticipated within the fourth quarter of 2022. The corporate has already signed Grasp Service Agreements for greater than 400 megawatts (MW) of modules, and is negotiating a further 175 MW, which might account for practically all the manufacturing facility’s 600-MW first-line capability.
Common Photo voltaic’s Panama manufacturing plant is comprised of 200,000 sq. toes in a state-of-the-art facility with tools sourced from OEMs. Tools is being bought and put in, as much as 50 workers are being employed, and a grand opening is scheduled for the autumn.
Module meeting or cells too? “We may have full manufacturing functionality on the Panama manufacturing facility and shall be manufacturing, not merely assembling, the modules there,” Bereckis tells us. “Our modules shall be stamped ‘Made in Panama’ and the Certificates of Origin will say they’re merchandise of Panama. Initially we are going to procure accomplished cells so we are able to begin manufacturing instantly however we’re within the technique of procuring uncooked wafers to course of these wafers into cells for the long-term provide of our modules.”
The corporate assures that its modules shall be One hundred pc-compliant with the U.S. Commerce Division’s withhold and launch order (WRO) on Hoshine silicon, however couldn’t disclose its particular sources “on account of excessive quantity market demand on uncooked supplies.”
Modules at a look | The primary module strains to be produced will vary from 350 to 545 watts. All shall be high-efficiency (20.04 to 21.46 %), low-LID, mono PERC and a few will function half-cell know-how. Common Photo voltaic will supply a 25- to 30-year linear energy output guarantee and a 12- to 15-year materials and workmanship guarantee.
Common Photo voltaic America gives modules in addition to procurement, improvement and financing companies to giant industrial and utility-scale photo voltaic builders, EPCs and different large-volume consumers of photo voltaic modules. They won’t be promoting by distribution.
“The gross sales already accomplished are within the utility/giant industrial and residential sectors and that’s what we see as our foremost markets,” Bereckis says. “We’re at the moment providing the 400W module for resi and 545W for utility-scale. We can even have the flexibility to supply a 460 W bifacial for mid-market industrial and small industrial.”
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