Altus Power and Heliene partner to boost U.S. solar module manufacturing

Solar company Altus Power Inc. and module manufacturer Heliene Inc. signed a three-year agreement under which Altus Power will be able to buy up to 250 MW of solar modules from Heliene for use in solar generation projects across the U.S.

In connection with the supply agreement, Altus Power also plans to invest up to $5 million in Heliene as part of that company’s anticipated take-over transaction with Buzz Capital 2 Ltd. and listing on the TSX Venture Exchange.

In late January, Renewable Energy World reported that more than a year after global solar energy markets were rocked by credible allegations of forced labor’s use in parts of in China, supply chains are increasingly shifting away from those conflict regions.

The shift is being aided in part by growing global demand for solar energy equipment. New sources of supply across the entire solar production supply chain are being added, offering alternatives to solar developers in the U.S. and elsewhere.

“Many U.S. solar developers are currently facing supply and trade volatility risks, causing potential project delays,” said Martin Pochtaruk, CEO of Heliene. “Altus Power’s proposed investment in Heliene enables us to better capitalize on growing demand for domestic solar products and make good on our commitment to generate more well-paying manufacturing jobs in the U.S.”

Heliene’s solar modules will be manufactured at the company’s recently expanded facility in Mountain Iron, Minnesota. As reported last September, the Mountain Iron facility will become the second-largest solar module manufacturing plant in the U.S., with production expected to begin in June.

The campus will grow to 95,000 sq. ft. and will feature advanced automation technologies. Production will focus on M6, M10 and M12 size super high efficiency monocrystalline PERC cells, which the company says reduce cell-to-module losses through their half-cut design and can withstand weather and mechanical stresses.

Heliene has three production facilities located in the U.S. and Canada, which are expected to total 900 MW of total manufacturing capacity and are planned to be online by Q3 of 2022.

Last August, the company launched a new facility in Riviera Beach, Florida, taking over a facility previously occupied by SolarTech Universal.