Nextracker, a global manufacturer of utility-scale solar trackers, and BCI Steel, a Pittsburgh-based steel fabricator, are reopening the historic Bethlehem steel manufacturing factory in nearby Leetsdale to produce solar tracker equipment for large-scale solar power plants.
The steel processing plant will incorporate BCI Steel’s new and reshored equipment shipped back to the U.S. from factories in Malaysia and Brazil. Solar tracker products produced at the factory will serve growing solar markets in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York and Ohio.
“BCI is proud to advance Pittsburgh’s legacy as the heart of America’s steel industry,” said Matt Carroll, CEO of BCI Steel. “This partnership with Nextracker showcases our steel fabrication and quality control technology and unlocks additional domestic solar capacity with our low-cost manufacturing.”
This is the third solar tracker fabrication line Nextracker has commissioned with a steel manufacturing partner in 2022 as part of its mission to rebuild America’s steel and solar supply chains. With additional capacity in Pittsburgh, Nextracker is building out 10 GW of “Made in America” manufacturing capacity — enough to power 7.5 million homes.
“U.S. Steel is pleased to supply steel that is mined, melted and made in America for Nextracker’s advanced solar tracker systems. We applaud Nextracker’s expansion of manufacturing in Pittsburgh and other locations in the U.S.,” said Ken Jaycox, SVP and CCO at United States Steel Corporation. “Providing industry-leading products for our customers utilizing advanced technology and fully optimized facilities is key to U. S. Steel’s ‘Best for All’ strategy.”
Earlier this year, Nextracker opened a green steel tracker production line in Texas with JM Steel and another dedicated steel production line in Arizona with Atkore. Under this reshoring initiative, Nextracker has already procured over 100,000 tons of U.S.-made steel so far this year, enough for approximately 5 GW of solar trackers.
“BCI Steel’s Pittsburgh factory enables the quick-ship response times we need to meet booming demand from our customers in the Mid-Atlantic and Heartland regions,” said Dan Shugar, CEO and founder of Nextracker. “This investment will increase the resilience of the U.S. solar supply chain and bring manufacturing jobs, equipment and capacity back to America.”
The newly reopened Pittsburgh factory is situated in proximity to river and rail transport in a location steeped in manufacturing history. The factory lies on the same grounds where steel fabricators built materials for tank landing ships (LSTs) during WWII.
The dedication ceremony was attended by top dignitaries and leaders from some of the world’s largest clean energy companies, including the CEO of EDPR Sandhya Ganapathy and the chief operating officer of Lightsource bp Ann Davies.
News item from Nextracker