Solar module maker Heliene said it will open a third North American manufacturing facility in Riviera Beach, Florida.
The 75,000-square-foot facility is Heliene’s second in the U.S., and increases its manufacturing capacity by 100 MW. The company said it will begin production at the new facility in September, following upgrades to an existing solar production line previously operated by SolarTech Universal. Heliene operates other production lines in Ontario, Canada, and Minnesota.
The company expects to announce in the coming weeks a 350 MW expansion at the Minnesota facility. That expansion is likely to include a multi-million-dollar incentive package from the state.
The Florida plant will produce super-high-efficiency heterojunction solar cell modules for residential and commercial applications. Martin Pochtaruk, CEO, said that heterojunction module technology offers the advantages of N-type crystalline silicon with the absorption and passivation of amorphous silicon.
Heliene’s 66-cell Heterojunction 370W module uses multiwire technology and 18 round microwires in place of traditional flat busbars. The design reduces shading by 25% by creating a light trapping effect, the company said. The N-type silicon results in low light-induced degradation and potential induced degradation.
Pochtaruk told pv magazine USA that the Florida move expands the company’s product line to over the “fast growing” residential market. The company previously had focused on supply modules for utility-scale solar projects.
The company opened its first production line in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in 2010. Eight years later, it invested $18 million to open a 25,000-square-foot facility in Mountain Iron, Minnesota. That facility received $3.5 million in state aid to upgrade equipment, which had been left behind when the previous occupant, Silicon Energy, closed.
The Minnesota plant is providing solar panels to a recently approved project by Minnesota Power to build three solar facilities. The $40 million Laskin, Sylvan, and Duluth city solar arrays will have 21 MW of capacity.
In 2018, Heliene joined Canadian Solar and Silfab in opposing tariffs that the Trump administration imposed on solar imports. The trio argued that their products should be exempt from the tariffs because they violated the Trade Act and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), under which their products were protected at the time.
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