Heliene Inc., a provider of North American-made solar PV modules, has invested an additional $10 million to expand its manufacturing and assembly line at its Mountain Iron, Minnesota facility.
Minnesota Line One was first installed in 2018 at 150 MW and has now doubled in capacity to 300 MW with this recent investment. Line One is situated contiguously to a second, 500MW line installed in 2022. The company reports that the upgrades will improve the efficiency of the line and enable the manufacture of TOPCon solar modules.
Heliene has a technology roadmap that calls for the manufacture of PERC modules up to December 2024, while TOPCon will be the new technology starting in February 2024. There will be an overlap of PERC and TOPCon throughout 2024 within the company’s three manufacturing lines.
“The reason Heliene and many other solar equipment manufacturers are moving into Topcon and/or HJT is to advance its product offer, to make these products more efficient,” Martin Pochtaruk, CEO of Heliene told pv magazine USA. “Not different than when everyone went into monocrystalline only, leaving polycrystalline in the past.”
The expanded line is also expected to create an estimated 130 new jobs in Minnesota’s Iron Range. When asked about the challenge in finding workers, Pochtaruk told pv magazine USA that paying more and providing full benefits for the employees and their families has shown to be a good plan. He also noted that Heliene works with the local trade colleges to design curricula to meet the company’s needs.
“We’re proud to be delivering on our commitment to grow our U.S.-based manufacturing capacity and create new clean energy jobs with the refurbishment of Minnesota Line One,” said Pochtaruk. “Recent funding and federal incentives are helping us grow our facilities and workforce to keep up with historically high demand for domestically produced solar PV modules. We’re thankful to our clients for enabling us to grow rapidly, while maintaining the customer-first approach Heliene has become known for.”
The expansion of Minnesota Line One is the latest milestone in Heliene’s continued growth and investment into the North American solar industry. In August 2023, Heliene and Nexamp, the nation’s largest community solar provider, entered into a partnership that includes a 1.5GW module order to support the development of about 400 new community solar projects over the next five years.
Heliene has been manufacturing solar modules in Ontario, Canada since 2010, where it currently has a 300 MW manufacturing line.
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