India’s Waaree to invest $1 billion in Texas solar panel factory

(Reuters) – India’s top solar panel maker Waaree Energies on Thursday said it would invest up to $1 billion to build a factory in Texas to take advantage of soaring U.S. demand for clean energy.

The announcement is the latest major corporate commitment to solar manufacturing since passage of U.S. President Joe Biden’s landmark climate change law last year which offers subsidies and tax breaks for clean energy projects.

India’s solar manufacturing industry is growing rapidly and just beginning to use its know-how in the United States, with both countries looking to build a clean energy sector to compete with China.

Waaree said that by 2027 its planned Brookshire, Texas facility will be one of the largest solar factories in the U.S., with an annual capacity of 3 gigawatts (GW) of panels when it opens in late 2024, then expanding to 5 GW.

The Houston-area factory will create more than 1,500 jobs, it said. The company aims to add a solar cell facility by 2025.

Waaree’s plans are supported by a long-term supply agreement with SB Energy, a clean energy developer backed by Japan’s Softbank Group.

“By setting up the new facility in the Houston area, Waaree brings critical technologies that will boost American solar production, reducing reliance on overseas sources while supporting strong U.S. jobs,” Sunil Rathi, interim CEO of Waaree Solar Americas said in a statement. “We are committed to the U.S. and its growing demand for clean energy.”

Under Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, solar project developers receive additional subsidies for using American-made equipment, and producers also receive new incentives.

Most major components in Waaree’s solar modules will be made in the U.S., the company said.

Waaree’s move to manufacture in the U.S. comes after a venture backed by India’s Vikram Solar earlier this year said it would invest $1.5 billion in the U.S. solar supply chain.

Waaree has made inroads into the U.S. market already this year by supplying 4 GW of solar modules from its factory in India.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Sonali Paul)