Singapore solar company plans major US manufacturing plant in New Mexico, pending federal loan

FILE - A solar farm is seen west of Rio Rancho, N.M., on June 15, 2021. Singapore-based Maxeon Solar Technologies plans to build a major solar panel manufacturing plant in Albuquerque, pending approval of a loan application with the U.S. Department of Energy, the company announced Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File) (Susan Montoya Bryan, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SANTA FE, N.M. – Singapore-based Maxeon Solar Technologies plans to build a major solar panel manufacturing plant in Albuquerque, pending approval of a loan application with the U.S. Department of Energy, the company announced Thursday.

The factory would employ about 1,800 people to provide photovoltaic solar panels for use in residential, commercial and utility-scale solar arrays.

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Maxeon said the plant would be larger than any comparable existing facility in the U.S., equipped to produce panels each year that can generate three gigawatts of electricity. A company representative said that's enough to equip about 460,000 typical U.S. homes with solar power.

About six gigawatts of solar panels were installed nationwide in the first three months of 2023, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The proposed solar plant in the southern reaches of Albuquerque would include solar-cell fabrication, panel assembly and warehouse facilities, along with administrative offices.

Maxeon Solar emerged in 2020 as a spun-off company from the residential solar provider SunPower Corp.

Maxeon CEO Bill Mulligan called the proposed plant “an ambitious and concrete response to the need to decarbonize the U.S. economy while creating permanent highly-skilled local manufacturing and engineering jobs.”

The company said it would invest at least $1 billion in construction.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the plant is an outgrowth of public investments in clean energy infrastructure under the 2022 U.S. Inflation Reduction Act and related state programs.