Canadian Solar will supply up to 7GW of solar modules to EDF Renewables for projects in the US from a future $250m factory outside Dallas, as the industry ramps utility-scale manufacturing and project investments in response to generous federal tax incentives in last year’s climate law.
The deal is believed the largest for modules by a single company since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021 and began championing a national transition to clean energy led by the power sector that he wants carbon-free by 2035.
Under the agreement announced Wednesday, Canadian Solar will begin producing N-Type tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) modules at its Mesquite plant in the fourth quarter.
Once fully operational, the facility will have 5GW/yr of production capacity and create 1,500 jobs. It will be Canadian Solar’s first plant in the US.
EDF Renewables’ US projects will employ the modules between 2024 and 2030. On 1 January, the company ranked 11th among clean power capacity owners here and 13th for solar with 725MW.
“The module supply agreement demonstrates our commitment to domestic sourcing and represents a pivotal step for EDF Renewables, enabling us to achieve key milestone dates and execute a schedule for the construction of our robust solar pipeline,” said CEO Tristan Grimbert.
He noted the deal enhances the developer’s ability to “minimise risks linked to trade uncertainties and supply chain fluctuations.”
Canadian Solar CEO Shawn Qu said the pact is a "testament of the strong relationship and long history of cooperation" between the companies in the US and Brazil.
In June 2022, Biden imposed a controversial two-year waiver of tariffs on certain Chinese-branded PV cells and modules sources in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam whose suppliers were found to be circumventing US trade laws.
The White House has said the administration will not extend the waiver when it expires next 6 June. At that time, if the Department of Commerce confirms an initial finding that 26 suppliers were not in compliance, their products could face stiff new and retroactive tariffs.
The administration’s enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labour Protection Act (UFLPA) that took also took effect in June 2022 also resulted in supply chain disruptions here.
The law addresses alleged human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region, a major global supply source for polysilicon, cells, and other critical components in solar panels. China has repeatedly denied allegations of forced labour.
While the presumption that any product using inputs from Xinjiang benefited from forced labour is rebuttable, the process for providing the proper evidence to comply with the law has often taken weeks, or months.
Module supply to the US has “largely recovered and expanded” thanks to Biden’s two-year tariff safe harbour and a more fluid documentation process for product clearance under UFLPA, according to a recent report by the American Clean Power Association (ACP), a national trade group based in Washington, DC.
ACP said its data shows that more than $270bn of capital investment has been announced for clean energy projects and manufacturing facilities since Biden signed the climate law last August.