Swiss solar technology company Meyer Burger announced it will open a silicon solar cell manufacturing facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. With an initial capacity of 2 GW of solar cells per year, the new plant will exclusively supply Meyer Burger’s solar module production in Goodyear, Arizona.
The company has selected a former Intel semiconductor fabrication plant in Colorado, and production is planned to start in the fourth quarter of 2024 and will create more than 350 direct jobs.
“Meyer Burger strongly believes that domestically manufactured solar cells will bring additional value to our customers, both in relation to using best-in-class, high-performance solar products Made in USA, and in terms of qualifying for additional tax credits,” says Gunter Erfurt, CEO of Meyer Burger. With an initial targeted production of 2 GW of solar cells and modules in the United States, Meyer Burger is potentially eligible for tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act of up to $1.4 billion from the start of production in 2024 until the end of 2032.
Beyond IRA tax credits, the City of Colorado Springs and the State of Colorado are supporting the facility with almost $90 million, mainly in the form of tax credits, direct support and discounted electricity and water rates. In addition, prepayments from module off-take partners and a loan from the Dept. of Energy of more than $300 million are also anticipated to contribute to financing of Meyer Burger’s growth in the United States.
“Meyer Burger is currently working on additional multi-gigawatt offtake agreements in the U.S. with new customers. We are already exploring opportunities to add further solar cell and module production capacity in the country,” Erfurt said.
Ali Zaidi, White House National Climate Advisor, released a statement to Solar Power World: “President Biden has spurred big solar momentum. Thanks to President Biden’s climate and economic agenda, America has now become a magnet for massive investment, and a U.S. manufacturing renaissance is underway. Today’s announcement is Bidenomics in action — with 350 new jobs at Meyer Burger’s new factory in Colorado Springs. This mega factory will produce gigawatts of solar cells stamped ‘Made in America.’ It’s good news for our economy and good news for our climate and energy security.”
The accelerated manufacturing schedule in the United States is made possible by redirecting production equipment originally intended for the previously announced 2-GW solar cell expansion at the company’s German facility. This equipment will be installed at Colorado Springs facility in order to meet the planned completion date for the cell factory in 2024. Meyer Burger is planning an expansion at its German factory at a later date.
Colorado is becoming a popular solar manufacturing location. Last month, a joint venture involving Vikram Solar announced it would start a 2-GW solar panel factory in the state. Colorado Springs specifically is a hotbed for semiconductor manufacturing, supporting recent expansions from Microchip Technology and Entegris, according to local news.