NEXTracker and 174 Power Global, an affiliate of Hanwha Group, have completed the largest racking supply deal in industry history: a 3.4 GW shipment of smart solar trackers sent to seven 174 Power Global projects across the United States.
For context on the scope of the deal, in 2019, the tracker market grew 62 percent, reaching 23 gigawatts (DC) of installations. On average, the market is expected to grow by 11% annually from 2019 through 2024, meaning that this deal already surpassed the expected growth rate of the entire industry.
The contract was agreed upon in the second half of 2019. The timing of the agreement allowed 174 Power Global to safe harbor the shipments before the Investment Tax Credit fell from 30% to 26% at the beginning of 2020.
“We’re producing key components in many countries around the world,” NEXTracker CEO Dan Shugar told pv magazine USA. “We set out to radically expand our supply chain to be able to support global demand and reduce any geographic risks. We were really well set up, from a capacity standpoint. 174 really developed an incredible portfolio of projects and they recognized that they wanted to ensure those projects were supported on schedule. they came in with a very clear requirement about when they needed us to perform. So, we laid out a plan together and executed on it.”
Shugar added that despite the exponential size of the deal with 174 Power Global, NEXTracker was able to meet demand and complete the terms of the contract without disrupting supply to any other customers. Each project receiving tracking systems averages nearly 500 MW in capacity. It has not been made available specifically where these projects are, nor how far along in development they are, but nevertheless the 4% saved will translate into a significant bit of cash.
Even more stressful to supply than a 3.4 GW order, the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to cause major disruption across the global solar industry, with concerns of product shortages and cause price spikes. Shugar, however, is confident that NEXTracker will be able to weather the storm.
“We’re especially concerned with people’s health and this atrocious pandemic, but we are seeing a resilient demand picture, as a flight to quality, stability and supply chain strength and diversity. We haven’t seen any impact on our demand picture as we look forward into this year and next year. There could be some short-term implications, but, thus far, we’re confident with our plan as we move forward.”