Summit Ridge Energy (SRE), the nation’s largest commercial solar company, announced the signing of an agreement with Qcells, a provider of energy solutions, to purchase 1.2 GW of solar panels to support its development pipeline. SRE said that the deal marks the largest community solar equipment purchase ever in the United States and is viewed by Qcells and SRE as the beginning of bringing American-made clean energy to communities large and small.
SRE will use the solar panels to develop more than 350 solar projects over the next four years, with the first 200 MW to be installed before the end of 2023. Once complete, the projects will generate enough clean electricity to power an estimated 140,000 homes and businesses. The agreement between SRE and Qcells also includes 20 MWh of energy storage.
A majority of the solar panels purchased by SRE will be produced in Qcells’ US manufacturing facilities. Made possible in part because of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes tax incentives for domestic energy production and manufacturing, the deal validates the IRA’s positive impact. The legislation is also helping to accelerate SRE’s construction pipeline and support its investment in domestically manufactured solar infrastructure. Additionally, the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act included in the IRA is playing a key role in Qcells’ plans to build a fully integrated, domestic supply chain that its customers, like SRE, can rely on.
Community solar projects are a method of providing solar to individuals and businesses who are not able to install solar panels because they are renters or lack the ability to go solar for other reasons. Typically, multiple customers can subscribe and receive a credit on their utility bill for their share of power produced, just as if the panels were on their own roof. SRE’s solar projects may also qualify for IRA tax credits related to supporting low- to moderate- income (LMI) households and many will be constructed in low-income and energy communities — a core component of SRE’s development strategy.
The agreement builds on the existing relationship between SRE and Qcells, including a recent partnership to deploy three standalone energy storage projects in New York City that total more than 46 MWh and use Qcells’ Geli energy management system. It also comes shortly after Qcells announced plans to invest US$2.5 billion to build a fully integrated, silicon-based supply chain in the United States. When complete, Qcells solar panels — from polysilicon to the finished panel — will be fully made in America.