For the second time in as many months, Nextracker has secured new steel production lines in the U.S., bringing the solar tracker manufacturer's domestic capacity to 10 GW.
Nextracker said it reshored equipment from China to the Atkore Steel facility in Phoenix as a means of mitigating risk caused by supply chain turbulence.
The new production lines are dedicated solely to Nextracker's regional projects and could create "hundreds" of new jobs, the company said. The lines will fabricate steel tubes used in utility-scale solar projects.
“Building out our manufacturing capacity with partners across the U.S. allows us to protect customers from cost volatility, steel supply risk and delays in logistics,” said Nextracker founder and CEO Dan Shugar.
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In April, Nextracker announced that it would be the sole customer of a steel production line at a new Steel Dynamics, Inc. facility in Corpus Christi, Texas. The line will be operated by JM Steel.
Nextracker CEO Dan Shugar said customers are demanding protection from steel and logistics cost volatility that has persisted throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Procuring steel in the U.S. will improve customer delivery times and result in cleaner steel production, he said.
Steel produced for Nextracker at the SDI facility will be made with Electric Arc Furnace technology that uses recycled or scrap steel as a raw material.
The steel production line provides the ability to service major markets by truck, while providing access to three Class 1 railroads (UP, BNSF, & KCS) and a deep-water port on the inland waterway system. Nextracker said it aims to support proposed solar projects in the southern U.S. with the new production line.
The Biden administration on April 18 issued a memo directing federal agencies to only procure U.S.-made iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials with funds allocated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.