Maxeon Solar Technologies, Ltd. announced this week that it has chosen Albuquerque, NM, as the location for the company’s first U.S. manufacturing expansion. The new world-class, 3-gigawatt facility will be designed to produce latest-generation TOPCon PV-silicon cell technology and Maxeon’s proprietary shingled-cell Performance Line solar modules to meet rapidly growing demand for domestically produced solar panels.
The company plans to begin construction in the first quarter of 2024, with factory ramp-up to commence in 2025. The complex will be built on a 160-acre site and will include solar cell fabrication, panel assembly, a warehouse, a research and development lab, and administrative offices.
Once complete, Maxeon estimates the new facility will create up to 1,800 jobs, including highly skilled manufacturing and engineering jobs, and produce millions of solar panels each year for the U.S. market. The New Mexico facility will expand Maxeon’s global manufacturing footprint, which currently includes plants in Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Headquartered in Singapore, Maxeon designs and manufactures Maxeon® and SunPower® brand solar panels, and has sales operations in more than 100 countries, operating under the SunPower brand in certain countries outside the United States.
U.S. Expansion In New Mexico
The new Maxeon plant in New Mexico is planned to serve both the Utility Scale Power Plant market and Distributed Generation rooftop applications. The total investment of the project is expected to be over $1 billion, and is subject to a successful financial close under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program. As the company shared in an August 10 news release, Maxeon is currently in the due diligence stage of its loan application and site selection is a milestone in completing this process with DOE’s Loan Programs Office. DOE’s invitation into the due diligence and term sheet negotiation process is not an assurance that DOE will issue a loan guarantee, nor that the terms and conditions of a loan guarantee will align with terms proposed by the applicant.
“I am proud to welcome Maxeon Solar Technologies’ first US-based manufacturing facility to New Mexico,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. “This private investment shows how our state programs, paired with President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, have charted a path for New Mexico as a leader in growing the clean energy economy and creating a strong workforce for the future.”
“Thanks to the support of the Biden administration, the U.S. is now poised to re-shore and scale up a domestic solar supply chain. This will enhance national energy security and create a new cadre of well-paying manufacturing jobs. Maxeon is well positioned to play a significant role in this process by virtue of our proven experience in deploying and operating world-class solar cell and panel technology. We see tremendous opportunity to help the country advance its clean energy agenda while generating strong local economic impact,” said Bill Mulligan, Maxeon CEO.
The Maxeon plant is expected to be the first large-scale PV cell and panel manufacturing in New Mexico, and its planned capacity is approximately double the size of the largest silicon solar manufacturing facility currently operating in the U.S.
Due to strong customer demand and the planned availability of sufficient infrastructure at the Mesa Del Sol site, Maxeon is currently evaluating plans to upsize the scale of its U.S. manufacturing operation by approximately 50% to a nameplate capacity of 4.5 GW. A final decision regarding plant capacity is expected later this year.
“The Inflation Reduction Act has catalyzed a new chapter in America’s energy transition. Our new solar cell and panel facility in New Mexico is an ambitious and concrete response to the need to decarbonize the U.S. economy while creating permanent highly-skilled local manufacturing and engineering jobs,” Maxeon’s Mulligan added. “We expect the new plant will also serve as an anchor to attract further regional investment in the solar supply chain. As a company that started in Silicon Valley 38 years ago, we are proud to be bringing U.S.-developed technologies back home and to contribute to the reshoring of a domestic solar supply chain.”
Albuquerque Tim Keller said, “This project is delivering on the promise of good-paying American manufacturing jobs and the promise of clean energy, right here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We know our city is a special place and Albuquerque is well on its way to becoming the solar capital of North America.”
“This is a huge win for New Mexico and we’re excited to welcome Maxeon Solar Technologies to the state,” Melinda Allen, president and CEO of the New Mexico Partnership said. “This project will create a significant number of high-quality jobs for New Mexicans and further establish New Mexico as the place to be for advanced manufacturers.”
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