Swiss photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer Meyer Burger has confirmed the commencement of operations at its latest manufacturing facility, a 2-gigawatt (GW) plant in Goodyear, Arizona. Originally conceived as a 1.5GW annual manufacturing facility, Meyer Burger has opted to expand its solar module production capacity to meet growing demand.
The company has started receiving shipments of equipment and tools for the facility, which, upon completion of expansion later this year, is expected to employ 630 people. Meyer Burger is actively recruiting staff for various roles at the plant.
This development follows Meyer Burger's recent agreement with German developer Baywa r.e, where the Swiss company will supply 1.25GW of its modules annually from 2025 to 2029. The expansion of the Goodyear facility is strategically aligned with the requirements of this agreement, with a focus on producing panels from Meyer Burger's SmartWire range of heterojunction technology (HJT) modules.
The SmartWire range includes three distinct products, labeled “black,” “white,” and “glass,” boasting power ratings of up to 395Wp, 400Wp, and 390Wp, respectively, with conversion efficiencies reaching up to 21.5%, 21.7%, and 21.8%, respectively.
In a letter to the US Internal Revenue Service in November 2022, Meyer Burger underscored the significance of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), particularly the Section 45X manufacturing credit with direct pay, in fostering a favorable environment for solar energy manufacturing in the United States. The company envisions making the US a central hub for its solar manufacturing efforts.
Of the initially planned 1.5GW capacity, 1GW was allocated for the utility-scale sector, with 500MW earmarked for distributed generation. Meyer Burger has yet to disclose which sector will benefit from the additional manufacturing capacity.
As the US residential solar market is forecasted to grow by 13% in 2023, propelled by strong expansion in California and the northeast, Meyer Burger's operations in Arizona align with a positive trajectory in the industry. However, concerns over higher interest rates impacting sales volumes in states such as Texas and Arizona have led to an anticipated 12% contraction in the overall US residential solar market in 2024, according to research from the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie.
Stakeholders in the Arizona solar sector remain optimistic that increased manufacturing and distribution of residential solar products in the state could play a pivotal role in reversing this anticipated decline.