Vikram Solar picks Colorado for 2-GW solar panel factory


Indian solar panel maker Vikram Solar has entered into a joint venture with Phalanx Impact Partners and Das & Co. (VSK Energy) with investment firms to invest $1.5 billion in US solar panel manufacturing.

Installation of Vikram panels in the US in 2018

The $250 million first phase will go toward building a 2-GW solar module assembly plant in Brighton, Colorado. The new factory should create 900 direct jobs. VSK Energy expects to open the plant in 2024 and eventually reach 4 GW of annual production.

The second phase will use the remaining $1.25 billion to build a 4 GW solar ingot, wafer and cell manufacturing facility somewhere in the South. The die/wafer/cell plant is expected to be operational in 2025 and create more than 1,500 direct jobs.

“Vikram Solar is proud to be a part of this monumental initiative with the rest of the VSK team,” said Gyanesh Chaudhary, founder, president and CEO of Vikram Solar. “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 solar manufacturing innovation and efficiency in the US.”

Mortenson, one of the nation’s leading solar EPC firms and commercial construction firm, will oversee the engineering and construction of two phases of VSK Energy’s planned investment. To build the two phases of VSK Energy’s planned investment, Mortenson plans to hire hundreds of team members from the local communities involved in the project, including pipe fitters, electricians, sheet metal workers, plumbers, operators, carpenters, laborers, security specialists and more.

“Mortenson is excited and honored to lead the design and construction of this ambitious and transformative project for VSK Energy,” said Brad Heitland, director of business development for Mortenson. “This project represents a remarkable feat of engineering, construction and the combined efforts of several organizations from the private and public sectors around the world. It represents a collective commitment to a clean energy future, and as a leader in the engineering, procurement and construction of renewable energy infrastructure, Mortenson is poised to leverage our extensive experience to further grow and strengthen America’s position in solar manufacturing.

Das & Co. CEO Sriram Das, who will now serve as co-chairman of VSK Energy, commented that VSK’s investment in US manufacturing was driven by the Deflation Act.

“The passage of the Deinflation Act was an important moment for the clean energy future of the United States,” said Das. “The Biden administration and Congress have called for immediate action, and through our partnership with VSK, we are taking a decisive step toward achieving solar self-sufficiency, strengthening America’s energy security, and expanding solar deployment. I am also proud to bring together leaders from both the United States and India to share this investment and commitment to America’s clean energy future.”

The solar panel plant in Colorado is probably what used to be locally known as Project Porthos. The Colorado Economic Development Commission has approved nearly $9.2 million in job growth incentive tax credits for the project, with the condition that the solar company create 951 jobs over eight years. While VSK was revealed as the company behind the news, The Denver Post reported that VSK was also considering Texas for the plant, but favored the Colorado site “because of its proximity to the airport and the I-25, I-70 and I-76 freeway corridors and more affordable housing supply.”

Vikram Solar primarily manufactures solar panels for the large commercial and utility markets. The panel maker currently has a cumulative manufacturing capacity of 3.5 GW in India.

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