One of the primary obstacles to the more widespread adoption of solar power is the difficulty of sourcing solar panels. About 80% of the world’s solar panels are produced in China. Due to customs checks and a backlog at US ports, solar panels can be stuck in port for upwards of 8, 12, or even 15 months. With growing political tensions between the US and China and the threat of more tariffs, these import delays are likely to only grow worse in the years ahead.
Thankfully, there is great news. Tri-Sun Solar, an American-owned company that will begin manufacturing solar panels in January of 2024, is in the process of opening a new plant in Nevada. The facility will be located in the Las Vegas area, and it is expected to create approximately 150 to 200 jobs. Line workers, maintenance staff, and office administrators will be among the workers hired.
I recently spoke to Russ Bates, one of Tri-Sun’s founders, and he expressed excitement at what this plant will mean for clean energy. “I’ve seen projects have to completely shut down and demobilize because they didn’t have panels on site to install,” he said. “By manufacturing solar panels in the US, Tri-Sun will enable projects to receive solar panels on schedule from an American facility.”
Tri-Sun, in conjunction with NXTGEN Clean Energy Solutions, is already working with partners across a wide variety of sectors to secure solar module procurement for industrial, commercial, and utility-scale projects. Tri-Sun will start with two production lines, with each line estimated to produce 600 megawatts of solar panels per year. Bates estimates that Tri-Sun will make over 2 million solar panels in the first full year of operation with plans for expansion in mid-2024. The panels will be monocrystalline panels with a power supply of 550 watts.
In addition, Tri-Sun is planning to source as many raw materials from the US as possible. Although some solar panel raw materials are currently hard to find in the US, Bates is confident that Tri-Sun’s economic patriotism will benefit other businesses in America’s battered manufacturing sector. It will also give Tri-Sun a competitive advantage in the marketplace. “For a lot of people, having American-made panels means something,” Bates said.
If you want to take advantage of Tri-Sun’s superior quality and shipping times, be aware that the company is already accepting preorders. Tri-Sun operates on a first-come-first-serve basis, and orders for 2024 are quickly filling up. “The IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) is pushing for more American manufacturing, and that’s exactly what Tri-Sun Solar is about. We’re eager to work with folks, and we’re interested in long-term relationships.”