Nextracker expands U.S. manufacturing with Unimacts

Unimacts Line Worker, Nextracker

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From pv magazine USA

Nextracker has announced its second steel torque tube factory with Unimacts, a specialist in industrial manufacturing and supply chain solutions.

Like the first Nextracker/Unimacts partnership, this factory will be located in Sloan, Nevada, near Las Vegas. This factory will also will be owned by Unimacts, with all steel components produced exclusively for Nextracker, bringing the tracker specialist’s annual domestic solar tracker capacity to over 30 GW.

The steel torque tubes produced in the new 160,000-square-foot facility will be used to hold and rotate solar panels in large-scale solar power plants. The two factories will produce enough torque tubes to support more than 2 GW of new solar power each year, equivalent to the energy used by 400,000 U.S. homes.

With this new factory, Nextracker has now opened or expanded over 20 U.S. manufacturing facilities since 2021, including new or expanded dedicated production lines across the U.S. The tracker specialist locates plants near its target markets with the goal of reducing time and cost for its customers The Unimacts plant will produce steel components for Nextracker’s solar power generation plants primarily in Nevada and southwestern states.

Since passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022, solar developers are focusing on U.S. made content for solar power plants in order to qualify for the domestic content bonus credit. To qualify all steel and iron used in projects must be completely manufactured in the U.S., with the exception of certain metallurgical processes related to steel additives. This primarily applies to construction materials used for racking, trackers and foundation components anchoring solar panels.

“American manufacturing has quickly become the heartbeat of the clean energy revolution,” ​​said Dan Shugar, founder and CEO of Nextracker. “There is a trifecta of perfect conditions for this manufacturing renaissance: a terrific workforce, a great localized clean steel industry, and strong demand for renewable energy. Over the last three years, Nextracker has operationalized over 20 factories, catalyzing thousands of jobs. This is what growth and scaling look like.”

In addition to enabling solar developers to reap further tax credits, domestically produced materials is an economic driver, bringing good jobs to local communities. American Clean Power estimates that the IRA will help create 550,000 new clean energy jobs – more than doubling the current clean energy workforce. As a result, the clean power industry will support a direct workforce of nearly one million Americans by 2030.

“Today’s announcement is a great example of clean power driving an American manufacturing renaissance in Nevada and across the United States. Creating and expanding supply chains here at home strengthens America’s energy security, creates good-paying jobs and boosts the economy. These new manufacturing facilities also exemplify the key role of American technology in creating a clean, reliable, and affordable grid,” said Jason Grumet, CEO of American Clean Power.

In addition to making torque tubes for the solar industry, Unimacts solar piles and drives for trackers as well as wind turbine components and other industrial products.

“The federal incentives allow us to confidently invest in U.S. manufacturing, provide manufacturing jobs in Nevada and growth in the local economy,” said Alan Hayes, CEO of Unimacts. “Having inaugurated our first Nevada site for solar component production in Las Vegas just nine months ago, we’re pleased to be once again partnering with the Nextracker team, expanding clean energy manufacturing capacity and contributing to local jobs.”

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