Ontario, Canada-based Polar Racking announced it will add two facilities to manufacture solar mounts in the United States. One factory will be located in Michigan, the other in Florida.
A spokesperson for the company told pv magazine USA that it is building up to over 1 GW of tracker and fixed-tilt capacity by mid 2024, with the ability to scale up from there. The company said each site will add 10 jobs, with job opportunity growth as demand increases.
The Michigan facility is currently operational, and the Florida plant is expected to reach commercial production by the end of summer 2023, said the spokesperson.
“Our new U.S. facilities mitigate shipping lead time risks for our customers and gives us additional control over the entire supply chain,” said Pals Saddyappan, director of supply chain and global manufacturing, Polar Racking.
The company currently has a pipeline of 3.4 GW of solar mounting and racking across North America and the Carribean.
Made-in-USA solar components, including racking, trackers, and mounts, are in-demand across the nation, as the Inflation Reduction Act includes a 10% tax credit adder for renewable energy projects that include a certain threshold of domestic content. The Treasury Department recently released guidance on the content requirements, which contain complexities and are actively being evaluated by the industry. The subject of domestic content requirements was a hot topic at the RE+ Southeast renewable energy conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
“The expansion of Polar Racking’s manufacturing operations is in response to our customers’ needs to meet the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) domestic content requirements,” said Vishal Lala, managing director of Polar Racking. “Polar Racking supports the government’s initiative to re-shore the PV supply chain to create local jobs and bolster the local economy.”
Tracker for all terrains
This March, Polar Racking was tapped by OYA Renewables to supply its solar mounts for community solar projects in New York, the nation’s largest community solar market. Polar will supply its terrain-following Axsus series single-axis tracker for the construction of the Camillus Site 1 (6.61 MW), Camillus Site 2 (6.64 MW) and Vernon Site 1 (5.93 MW) community solar projects.
The company’s Axsus Sol-X tracker was developed in collaboration with leading automotive manufacturers to meet the challenge of installing solar on uneven terrain. As of April, Polar Racking has installed 200 MW of the product, with up to 400 MW expected to enter construction in 2023.
By applying automotive manufacturing best practices for a modular, on-site factory process, Polar Racking has increased assembly efficiencies, said Lala.
The Sol-X tracker features independent tables that can hold 6 to 24 modules per table for a total of up to 180 modules per row that are all controlled by a single motor. The table purlin design and flexible drive shaft allow it to follow the undulations of the terrain. Additionally, the Sol-X is can connect directly to various types of foundations, such as ground screws, helical piles, driven piles, and concrete ballasts for landfills. Its purlin table design also allows for greater pile and assembly tolerances that the company says allows for a much simpler and quicker installation.
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