Taiwanese cell giants plan US module factory

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It has been taken as an article of faith by opponents of the Section 201 trade case that tariffs on imported solar would not result in new manufacturing capacity. This has been echoed by analysts, who have stated that the low level of tariffs means that new factories don’t make economic sense.

If today’s news is any barometer, both groups are wrong. The Chairman of the newly formed United Renewable Energy (URE) has announced that the three Taiwanese cell makers that comprise the new company will build a module factory in the United States.

Available details are both sparse and contradictory. Press coverage by Digitmes mentions an investment of US$10-17 million, but also an annual production capacity of 500-1,000 MW.

These two figures simply do not match. “The price range could work but only for the equipment and you can even buy second-hand equipment these days,” IHS Markit Research Director of Solar and Energy Storage, Edurne Zoco told pv magazine.

Neo Solar Power (NSP) Chair Sam Hong also serves as URE chair, and NSP was unable to provide further details. “Neither the location, capacity nor CAPEX has been decided yet,” states Hao Huang, from NSP’s Investor Relations Department.

This news comes as JinkoSolar has announced its plans for a U.S. factory, several weeks after a source revealed to pv magazine that the Chinese manufacturer is the “Project Volt” negotiating with the City of Jacksonville, Florida for an incentive package.

It is not clear what the capacity of either factor will be.