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Clean Energy Manufacturing, The Sequel

 
 

Two plants in Bartow County and Dalton, Georgia, are part of solar panel maker Qcells’ commitment to invest $2.5 billion in the U.S. solar supply chain and create 2,500 jobs in Georgia alone.

Rendering courtesy of Qcells


The virtual ink had barely dried on last week’s Site Selection Snapshot about promising clean energy project and job data when First Solar and Maxeon Solar Technologies the very next day each announced billion-dollar manufacturing projects in Louisiana and New Mexico, respectively.

Now there are even more data. On Monday, E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), which calls itself a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals “who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment,” released “Clean Economy Works: IRA One-Year Review,” which contains data and ranks states based on 210 clean energy projects announced across the nation since the Inflation Reduction Act went into effect exactly one year ago today.

States in the South and Upper Midwest are leading the way, starting with No. 1 Georgia:

Top 10 States by Projects

State Projects Est.
Investment
Est.
Jobs
Georgia 19 $12.3 Billion 12,791
South Carolina 18 $10.9 Billion 10,272
Michigan 18 $9.1 Billion 10,090
Ohio 13 $6.4 Billion 3,839
Tennessee 13 $5.2 Billion 4,110
Texas 13 $5.2 Billion 4,193
New York 10 $783 Million 2,739
North Carolina 9 $9.9 Billion 3,656
Arizona 8 $5.9 Billion 2,280
California 8 $1.5 Billion N/A

Source: E2

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All told, the projects if completed as planned would create at least 74,181 new jobs and bring a minimum of $86.3 billion in new private investment to 39 states. Nearly half of the projects come from foreign companies, and 62% of them are in the electric vehicle and battery sectors.

And the list is up to date: The final two projects tallied were the August 10 announcements by First Solar and Maxeon.

Top Projects By Sector*

Sector Projects Est.
Job
Est.
Investments
Electric Vehicles 97 45,911 $56.1 Billion
Solar 44 15,084 $9.9 Billion
Battery/Storage 35 8,028 $12.4 Billion
Wind 18 2,543 $1.7 Billion
Hydrogen 12 2,434 $5.1 Billion
Grid/Electrification 12 905 $1.5 Billion

*some projects categorized in multiple sectors

Source: E2

The E2 report quotes Scott Moskowitz, senior director of market strategy and public affairs at solar panel manufacturer Qcells, about the company’s ongoing sequence of investments in that state, where there is a pronounced contingent of Korean clean tech companies in particular:

“The IRA has spurred massive investments in renewable energy over the past year, and Qcells is absolutely a part of that,” he says. “This January we announced a $2.5 billion investment in domestic manufacturing to build out the U.S. solar supply chain and create thousands of jobs on American soil — and hundreds of other companies are doing the same.” It didn’t take long to take effect: In March, Qcells supplier Hanwha Advanced Materials Georgia (HAGA) committed to build a $147 million, 160-job advanced materials manufacturing facility in Bartow County, Georgia, that will supply Qcells with Encapsulant film, materials used to encapsulate solar cells and ensure long-term panel durability.

In Coweta County, lithium-ion battery maker FREYR Battery is pursuing its own growth strategy. Jason Peace, senior vice president of business development for the company says the IRA’s passage “led FREYR to accelerate their plans to build out the initial two phases of the GigaAmerica plant in Georgia where we will have nameplate production capacity of 38GWh and employ over 700.”

E2’s methodology was strict: It did not count projects if they were announced prior to August 16, 2022. “This analysis also does not include federal investments in which the federal government has provided financial resources for the complete project, lease sales, projects in which an announcement was made but lacked specific geographic information, etc.,” the organization explains, noting that 156 of the 210 announcements include investment data and 142 of the 210 announcements include job estimates, “making this information very conservative.”


Three Bollinger Motors team members celebrated in July as the company launched pilot builds of the B4 all-electric Class 4 chassis in partnership with Roush Industries, Inc. One week later, Bollinger, which moved to a new HQ in Oak Park three years ago this week to accommodate rapid growth, received a $3 million job creation grant from the State of Michigan, tied for second by number of projects in E2’s new report.

Photo courtesy of Bollinger Motors


Among the report’s highlights:

  • Republican districts accounted for 60% of the jobs estimated to be created and 63% of the new investments. Democratic districts are home to 60 of the announced developments, $18.4 billion of the total investments, and 16,000 of the jobs estimated to be created. The report breaks out details about leading congressional districts.
  • Manufacturing accounted 171 of the 210 projects, 91% of total new estimated private investments and 95% of the estimated new jobs added by all projects.
  • Solar energy accounted for the second most announcements among clean energy sectors with 44, including 29 new or expanded facilities for manufacturing solar parts and panels.
  • Announcements made by companies based in U.S. states were led Michigan (20), California (17), Massachusetts (11), North Carolina (11), Texas (10), and Arizona (8).
  • Announcements made by foreign-based companies based outside the U.S. were led by South Korea (25), Canada (12), Japan (11), Germany (10), China (6).

Projects by Top Type

Industry Type Projects Est.
Job
Est.
Investments
Manufacturing 171 70,334 $78.2 Billion
Generation 30 3,727 $7.6 Billion
R&D 7 120 $430 Million

Later this month, on August 28, E2 will release its eighth annual Clean Jobs America report at www.cleanjobsamerica.e2.org. The report will feature an interactive map where users will be able to explore a variety of local and state data including job growth and job per capita by locality, comparisons to overall energy industry employment including fossil fuels and gas and diesel vehicles, subsector jobs data by metro, state, and county, and rankings by total clean energy jobs, density (employment per 1,000 overall jobs), and employment growth.

Too late for E2’s new report but sure to be tallied for next year’s is the 75-MW, 200,000-panel, one-square-mile Electrify America Solar Glow installation that went into commercial operation yesterday in San Bernardino County, California, as part of a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with developer Terra-Gen.

Photo courtesy of Electrify America

 

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