Silfab considering U.S. solar factory

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Italo-Canadian module manufacturer, Silfab Solar, announced today that it has secured a supply contract with PetersenDean, which bills itself as the largest privately-owned roofing and solar company in the United States. The capacity and dollar amounts are undisclosed, as it is an extended supply contract, rather than a singular deal.

In the brief press release, Silfab also hinted at much bigger news. The company states that it is “exploring U.S. manufacturing opportunities and location”. The company did not respond to a request for further information by press time.

A representative of PetersenDean who spoke to pv magazine noted that Silfab has begun looking at locations for a potential American manufacturing plant. The representative shared that the manufacturer had explored multiple locations in the Northeastern United States. This won’t be a long drive, considering that Silfab’s world headquarters and main manufacturing plant are both in the Toronto area.

Potential American expansion would be timely for Silfab, as its competitors are doing the same. In January, Jinko Solar, the world’s largest supplier of PV modules, announced a deal to invest $410 million to build a factory and U.S. headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida. In May, South Korea’s Hanwha Q Cells announced plans to construct a facility in Georgia. This plant will have an annual capacity of at least 1.6 GW, which would make it the largest solar factory in the Western Hemisphere.

These moves in manufacturing have come in response to the Trump Administration’s Section 201 tariffs on solar panels, but also the lowering of the corporate tax rate via tax reform. Of the three companies pv magazine spoke with that plan to build or buy cell and module factories in the United States, all cited a lower corporate tax rate as a factor supporting their decision.

The PetersenDean representative also shared that supply contract is partially to supply modules for PetersenDean to put on new homes, in response to California’s recent mandate. PetersenDean has committed to purchasing SLA M 310 all-black modules, and the first deliveries of these are set to begin by the end of the month.