Summit Ridge Energy (SRE), a commercial solar company, today announced a 1.2 GW module order with Qcells, to support the development of 350 solar projects over the coming years.
The expansion of a partnership between the developer and the onshored solar module manufacturer is the largest equipment purchase in history for the community solar market. For the companies, the order represents the beginning of bringing U.S.-made clean energy projects to communities both large and small, they said in a joint company statement.
Vice President Kamala Harris commemorated the agreement during brief remarks made today while at Qcells’ Dalton, Ga. facility during a White House webcast.
“I am proud to be in Dalton today to announce the largest community solar order in American history—made possible by the investments our administration has made to expand American manufacturing and increase demand for clean energy,” said Harris. “When we invest in climate, clean energy, and manufacturing, we invest in America. President Biden and I will continue to fight to create opportunity in every community.”
Kimberly Richardson, Q Cells’ recycling assistant manager at the Dalton, Ga., facility, introduced the vice president during the webcast. Richardson said it was an honor to welcome a fellow African-American woman to the Georgia facility, in addition to being able to work at a company that is now producing 12,000 solar panels each day, with more jobs to come in the coming years.
Arlington, Va.-based Summit Ridge said its first portfolio of 200 MW of projects using Qcells modules will be installed by the end of 2023. Once complete, the projects will provide enough clean energy to power 140,000 homes and businesses. The agreement between the companies also includes 20 MWh of energy storage, they said.
A majority of panels purchased by the developer will be produced in Georgia. The deal is one of the clearest validations yet of the Inflation Reduction Act’s positive impact on spurring domestic sourced content in concert with a U.S. project developer.
Community solar projects are a method of providing solar to individuals and businesses unable to install solar panels because they rent housing or lack the ability to go solar for other reasons. Typically, multiple customers can subscribe and receive a credit on their utility bill for their share of power produced, just as if the panels were on their own roof.
The 1.2 GW panel agreement builds on the existing relationship between SRE and Qcells, including a recent partnership to deploy three standalone energy storage projects in New York City that total more than 46 MWh using the Qcells Geli energy management system.
It also comes shortly after Qcells announced plans to invest $2.5 billion to build a fully integrated, silicon-based supply chain in the U.S., making the company the first to do so. When complete, Qcells solar panels — from polysilicon to the finished panel — will be entirely made in the U.S.
“We must continue to find ways to bring affordable electricity to everyday Americans, particularly communities that have historically relied on fossil fuels,” said Steve Raeder, chief executive officer of Summit Ridge. “The IRA has provided important incentives to drive clean energy adoption and meet climate targets, and now the industry needs partnerships like the one between Qcells and Summit Ridge to put policy into practice.”
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