Invenergy, a leading privately-held, American-led global developer, owner, and operator of sustainable energy solutions will invest more than $600 million through Illuminate USA to create one of the largest solar panel production facilities in the country. The investment will include a $220 million commitment to acquire and build out a 1.1 million-square-foot building in Pataskala, Ohio, using approximately 150 union jobs at peak construction. Once operational, the facility will manufacture high-quality domestic solar panels, creating at least 850 new, good-paying administrative, assembly, and engineering jobs. Operations are expected to commence by the end of 2023 and Illuminate USA will begin hiring this spring.
Located approximately 20 miles east of Columbus, the Pataskala manufacturing facility is being developed from an existing industrial building, requiring no farmland development. The facility will be home to some of the most advanced panel assembly technology in the world. Pataskala is in Licking County, which is home to an estimated 175,769 residents.
“As an American company and a leading developer and operator of solar projects in the U.S., we recognize the importance of having a strong domestic supply chain to meet the fast-growing demand for affordable solar power,” said Art Fletcher, EVP, Global Sourcing at Invenergy. “Invenergy is proud of the role Illuminate USA will play in bringing the highest-quality, domestically produced solar products to market, enhancing our nation’s manufacturing capabilities with a long-term investment that will create at least 850 good-paying jobs for Ohioans.”
Construction is slated to begin in April of this year. Once complete, the facility will deliver up to 5 gigawatts (GW) of solar module capacity per year. 5 GW represents almost 50% of total U.S. utility-scale solar installations last year and is capable of powering nearly one million American homes. This facility, and the hundreds of American workers that it will employ, is an important early step in the path toward a broader onshoring and rebuilding of advanced manufacturing jobs and productive capacity in the U.S. and in Ohio.
“Transforming over one million square feet into a state-of-the-art facility capable of producing high-quality U.S. solar products is a job that requires skilled construction professionals,” said Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Columbus/Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council. “We’re proud that the construction of the Illuminate USA facility will support 150 union jobs, as our affiliates and their members continue to set the standard for construction excellence in Ohio.”
“Illuminate USA’s investment is a critical step to establishing a more complete solar power supply chain in the United States as market demand for clean energy grows,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. “These new operations at a more than one million-square-foot facility will amplify Ohio’s role to boost domestic production of solar panels, creating at least 850 new jobs in Pataskala.”
Most of the solar value chain exists outside of the U.S., creating scarcity challenges and supply chain bottlenecks. Through this investment, solar panels will roll off the production line in Pataskala to meet immediate and growing U.S. customer demand and pipeline needs. This facility is an important step in securing domestic energy supply by bringing the highest-quality solar products to the U.S. and reducing reliance on imported products.
Illuminate USA’s facility represents the company’s long-term commitment to the Greater Columbus and Pataskala community. The Pataskala facility will increase and expand the technology and renewable energy ecosystem in the Columbus Region, while also creating good-paying jobs for Ohioans. Illuminate USA is? partnering with JobsOhio and One Columbus to develop training and skills development programs and to support recruiting efforts. JobsOhio plans to provide assistance for the project, which will be made public after a final agreement is executed. The company intends to deepen its support of the Region through partnerships with local schools and universities, as well as sponsorships of local community events like The Hartford Fair. Illuminate USA also intends to advance research and development efforts at the facility, to promote American leadership in solar panel production.
Invenergy is the anchor customer of the Illuminate USA joint venture, and it will work with manufacturing partner LONGi to produce Ohio-made solar panels. Invenergy has an existing strong track record in Ohio and around the world. The company has a portfolio of 775 megawatts (MW) of solar power in the state and has developed more than 6,000 MW of solar projects around the world. A leader in sustainable energy solutions, Invenergy has developed approximately 10% of the entire U.S. wind and solar fleet.
“We are thrilled that Invenergy and Illuminate USA chose Pataskala, Ohio for this major investment,” said Mike Compton, mayor of Pataskala. “The company’s presence will increase the renewable energy landscape in the Region, ultimately adding to our already diverse business ecosystem. This investment is beneficial for the company, the Region, and the community, and we foresee a long-standing partnership between all involved.”
Technology operations in Columbus are deep and diverse, spanning industries such as retail, finance and operations. The Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the U.S. — along with the more than 50 colleges and universities in the Region — supplies a steady pipeline of skilled talent, especially in high-demand fields such as engineering and computer science.