From pv magazine USA
Vikram Solar, an India-based solar module producer, has partnered with investors Phalanx Impact Partners and Das & Co. to create a U.S. joint venture, VSK Energy LLC. The new company plans to invest up to $1.5 billion to develop a vertically integrated solar manufacturing operation.
The first phase of the investment consists of a $250 million investment to establish the Colorado module manufacturing facility in a recently completed building owned by Mortenson Properties and Hyde Development.
The new factory is expected to create over 900 direct jobs with an average salary of more than $70,000 and 200 construction phase jobs. VSK Energy expects the facility to commence operations in 2024 with an initial capacity of 2 GW of solar PV modules and planned expansion of up to 4 GW in the coming years.
With two planned projects, VSK extends Vikram Solar’s 17 years of solar manufacturing experience to the U.S. with financial support from sustainability-focused private equity firm Phalanx Impact Partners and Das & Co., a multi-tiered asset manager.
“Colorado is one of the top states in the country for solar production so this expansion in Brighton will help build upon our plans to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040, create more than 900 new good-paying jobs for Coloradans and contribute to our state’s thriving economy,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
“Cleantech in Colorado contributes $4.6 billion per year to the state’s economy and employs over 62,000 Colorado workers. By establishing a new solar manufacturing facility in Brighton, VSK will grow this important employment sector and help further Colorado’s commitment to grow clean energy technologies,” said Eve Lieberman, Executive Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
The second phase of investment would complete VSK’s vertical integration of the solar manufacturing process with the development of a second U.S. factory in a Southern state to produce solar ingots, cells, and wafers with a planned annual capacity of 4 GW and $1.25 billion capital commitment.
VSK Energy is expected to commence operations in 2025 following the evaluation and finalization of available federal, state, regional, and local incentives for the project. The new factory is expected to create over 1,500 direct jobs and 1,000 construction jobs.
Mortenson, a leading solar engineering, procurement, construction, and commercial contracting firm, will oversee the engineering and construction of both phases of VSK Energy’s planned investment.
To construct both phases of VSK Energy’s planned module and ingot facilities, Mortenson intends to hire hundreds of team members from the local communities involved in the project, including pipefitters, electricians, sheet metal workers, plumbers, operators, carpenters, laborers and safety professionals.
“With our 17 years of experience in solar manufacturing, combined with the VSK team’s commitment to a clean energy future, we look forward to driving the solar industry forward and setting a new benchmark for innovation and efficiency in solar manufacturing in the United States,” said Gyanesh Chaudhary, founder, chairman, and managing director of Vikram Solar.
“The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act was a landmark moment for the clean energy future of the United States,” said Sriram Das, Co-Chairman of VSK Energy and Managing Director of Das & Co. “The Biden Administration and Congress have called for immediate action and through our partnership in VSK, we are taking a decisive step towards achieving solar technology self-sufficiency, fortifying America’s energy security, and propelling large-scale solar deployment.”
Dentons LLP represented Vikram Solar for the creation of the VSK Energy JV, while McDermott Will & Emery represented Phalanx Impact Partners and Reed Smith represented Das & Co.
Based in Kolkata, India, Vikram Solar has a presence in 32 countries, operates a portfolio of 1.42 GW of PV projects and employs close to 2,000 employees. The company’s cumulative production capacity of solar modules is 3.5 GW.
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