- Universal Solar America has picked Panama, a country with whom the US has a Free Trade Agreement, to establish a 600 MW module fab
- It will produce mono PERC modules with some using half-cell technology, and power output ranging between 350W to 545W
- The company claims to have secured orders for 400 MW already, and is negotiating for another 175 MW to start delivering from Q4/2022
US based Universal Solar America is opening a solar module manufacturing facility in Panama, with an annual capacity of 600 MW that it claims will be 100% compliant with the US Department of Commerce’s (DOC) Withhold and Release Order (WRO) on Hoshine Silicon.
“Modules made in the Americas will bypass many of the constraints afflicting the US solar industry today, in particular supply issues related to Asian manufacturers. These constraints include existing tariffs and the threat of additional tariffs; COVID-related factory closures, shipping delays and price hikes; and the federal ban on products containing silicon sourced from Hoshine, China,” said Universal’s CEO and Founder John Bereckis.
The US government has banned the entry of any product with any connection to the Xinjiang region of China where it alleges human rights violation of Uyghur population, from entering the country’s borders. This list includes Hoshine Silicon that’s the major supplier of polysilicon to the PV industry (see ULFPA Comes Into Force In The US).
Universal Solar is a procurement and development services provider to commercial and utility scale solar developers. The 200,000 sq. ft. facility is scheduled to open in fall. Sourced from industry leading OEM’s, the equipment will roll out panels with 350 W to 545 W power output, with efficiency levels of 20.04% to 21.46%, according to the company.
These modules will use monocrystalline PERC technology with low-LID and some will have half-cell technology. Universal will offer linear power output warranties of 25 years to 30 years, while material and workmanship warranties will cover 12 years to 15 years.
Coming up at Panama’s Colon Logistics Park, which is a Free Trade Zone meaning there are no incurring taxes or duties being declared for goods imported or exported, it estimates shipments to reach any US port in approximately 5 days. Another strategic reason to choose Panama is the US government’s Free Trade Agreement with the Central American country.
“The prospect of tariffs on additional Asian countries has thrown the supply chain into turmoil, despite the Biden administration’s 2-year pause. Modules from Central America will give US developers a much-needed alternative,” added Bereckis.
Even before the fab can come online, Universal claims to have signed Master Service Agreements for over 400 MW capacity and is negotiating for another 175 MW to start delivering from Q4/2022.