A US-India joint venture, VSK Energy, aims to invest up to $1.5 billion in developing a vertically integrated solar manufacturing operation.
The venture between Vikram Solar, Phalanx Impact Partners, and Das & Co. aims to build a resilient American solar panel and equipment supply chain and reduce dependence on foreign suppliers.
They also aim to innovate India’s extensive solar manufacturing operations in the US.
Phase One: Construction of a Manufacturing Facility in Brighton, Colorado
The first phase of the investment, worth $250 million, plans to develop an American solar module manufacturing facility in a recently completed building in Colorado.
Colorado was chosen for its ambitious goal to be powered entirely by renewables by 2040.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis praised the state’s efforts to attract a facility with an educated workforce and central location near major solar markets, showcasing its significant impact.
This facility is projected to commence operations in 2024 and is prospected to create over 900 direct and 200 construction jobs.
“Cleantech in Colorado contributes $4.6 billion annually 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 growing clean energy technologies,” said Eve Lieberman, Executive Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).
Additionally, Colorado offered $9.1 million in tax credits to VSK for job offerings, aiming to become a major manufacturing center for the renewable energy economy.1
The facility plans to increase solar module manufacturing capacity to 4 GW, although the starting capacity is 2 GW.
Phase Two: VSK Energy Integrates Solar Manufacturing Vertically
The second phase of the venture has an investment tag of up to $1.25 billion.
The fund will be used to complete VSK Energy’s vertical integration of the solar manufacturing process, which involves the development of a factory in a Southern U.S. state to produce solar ingots, cells, and wafers with an anticipated annual capacity of 4 GW.
Operations at the new facility are expected to kick off in 2025. This follows an evaluation and finalization process of potential federal, state, regional, and local incentives for the project.
The venture projects that the factory will generate over 1,500 direct and over 1,000 construction jobs.
Mortenson, a top solar engineering firm, will oversee VSK Energy’s solar engineering and construction investment.
With over 70 years of experience, the company has installed solar projects across 17 states, providing over 9 GWs of generation.
To construct the project, Mortenson plans to hire hundreds of local community members, including pipefitters, electricians, sheet metal workers, plumbers, operators, carpenters, laborers, and safety professionals.
The Role of IRA in the Venture’s Success
VSK Energy invests in renewable energy production, capitalizing on Inflation Reduction Act incentives to boost renewable energy production in the US.
The Inflation Reduction Act also prompted the establishment of this joint venture.
“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,” said Sriram Das, Managing Director of Das & Co. and Co-Chairman of VSK Energy.
Based in Kolkata, India, Vikram Solar operates in 32 countries, has 1.42 GW PV projects, employs 2,000, and has a 3.5 GW cumulative solar module production capacity.
- Nichola Groom, ‘Exclusive: Group backed by India’s Vikram Solar to invest $1.5 billion in new US factories,’ Reuters, 23 June 2023, https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/group-backed-by-indias-vikram-solar-invest-15-billion-new-us-factories-2023-06-22/