On Expanding our U.S. Manufacturing Footprint for More Renewable Power

At Nextracker, we have now entered an exciting new phase in our quest to transition the world to renewable power. After delivering more than 50 GW of solar trackers and continuing our run as the global leader in this category, we are now greatly amplifying our U.S. manufacturing footprint. To put a more specific point on it, we’re investing heavily in the low-carbon production of steel needed for solar equipment, the backbone of utility-scale solar systems. Our multi-state effort aims to generate 10 GW of annual Made-in-America capacity for the solar industry, the equivalent of supplying 20 million people with all the electricity they need in their homes.

Our U.S. reshoring initiative also boosts local economies and creates jobs, while speeding the delivery of our products to our customers and partners. And it couldn’t come at a more critical time.

Not only has America’s energy security and independence never been more important, the appetite for renewable energy – and particularly solar – is soaring. According to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, solar accounted for 46% of all new electricity-generation capacity added in the U.S. last year. This represents the third year in a row that solar has made up the largest share of new generation capacity in the U.S. Furthermore, last year’s record-setting 17,000 megawatts of installed utility-scale solar indicates the market potential for over one million metric tons of demand for domestically manufactured steel for American-made solar trackers.

At the same time, there is no doubt that we are living through global supply chain instability, making the case for dependable American-made products even more vital. In times of crisis, however, we can find opportunities. That’s why we’re making strategic investments to de-risk supply and delivery for domestic steel production with three recent production projects, enabling us to now offer quick-ship capabilities for core steel components from strategically-located fabrication plants across the country. With these key relationships established, we’re able to protect customers from costly delays, significant price fluctuations, and more.

Most recently on June 28th, we re-opened a closed steel fabrication plant in Leetsdale, Pennsylvania, to make our solar trackers with BCI, using American-made steel. Known as a “steel city”, Pittsburgh has a legendary steel-making heritage that has been closely linked to the city’s growth and prosperity. In fact, our site on the Ohio river actually made steel to build tank landing ships for WWII and is ideally located with access to the river, rail, and road transportation corridors to quickly and reliably supply solar farms throughout the region.

In May, we announced a solar-dedicated steel production line with Atkore manufacturing in Phoenix, the epicenter of the Southwest’s rapidly growing region from a population and power perspective. The first components to roll off the production line will be used for the 150-MW Agave solar project by Arizona Public Service, which we are thrilled to be working on with other AZ companies including McCarthy Building Companies and First Solar.

In April, our partnership with JM Steel and Steel Dynamics enabled us to open a production line on a green steel campus in Sinton, Texas. This site makes low-carbon steel tracker components using recycled scrap and smelting tech – markedly cleaner than traditional blast furnace steel production. Again, we chose the location carefully, it’s near three railroads and a deep-water port, enabling us to transport clean energy to customers more efficiently over shorter distances.

We’ve already seen some fantastic results thanks to our US manufacturing initiative:

  • Our three new plant openings are creating about 200 new manufacturing positions, catalyzing a 20x multiplier that will result in over 4,000 additional jobs including designing, constructing and operating state-of-the-art solar power plants.
  • Under our reshoring initiative, we’ve procured over 100,000 tons of U.S. made steel this year, an amount that could realistically quadruple depending on policy support.
  • Our new partnerships have enabled more predictable production schedules, meaning a more dependable steel supply – central to utility-scale solar power.

We’re immensely excited to see the response to these developments, having received coverage from recognized, industry trades and business publications such as S&P Global, NBC, Fox News, PV Tech, Solar Power World, and pv magazine. We believe strongly in buying American and supporting our local economy and job market while meeting the ever-expanding demand for a future powered by renewable resources. With our manufacturing partners and customers, we are on target to build resilient U.S. supply chains that will strengthen American manufacturing and help the solar industry fulfill its promise as the dominant form of energy.  At the same time, onshoring and reshoring manufacturing puts companies like Nextracker in a much better position to navigate the unpredictable geopolitical and supply chain storms of late.

We stand at the vanguard of opportunity in a sector that will only continue to shine brighter. I’m incredibly proud of the work of our team and partners and look forward to bringing clean energy to even more consumers in the future.