The common image of solar manufacturing is a cell or module line, cranking out product. However, a larger portion of U.S. solar manufacturing, both by capacity and employment, is the construction of racking, tracking and mounting systems.
Last week, this sector expanded further with GameChange Solar announcing that it has secured eight additional manufacturing lines to make both racking and tracker systems. This includes lines in Florida, Missouri, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee.
“With our business growing rapidly, and with a heavy concentration in the southeast, we have added many manufacturing lines specifically in this market,” notes Derick Botha, the senior VP of business development at GameChange Solar. “This not only bolsters local employment in the southeast but also allows us to better service our customers.”
GameChange’s geographical emphasis is yet another indication of the rapidly growing market in the U.S. South. While North Carolina has been the second-largest state solar market for some time, in the last two years Florida utilities have begun building a large number of massive solar projects. GameChange is getting in on this, reporting orders for 350 MW of projects across the state in Mid-May.
With these and others, Florida and Texas have boomed to become the third- and fourth-largest markets in 2017, with South Carolina and Virginia also entering the top 10.
While exact details remain to be seen, GameChange likely does not own these lines. The company’s business model to date has been to contract dedicated lines at third-party manufacturing facilities to construct its products, which allows it to expand capacity rapidly without high overhead.