$1B Solar Panel Plant Eyed in New Mexico

Largest in the state, the facility will also mark the manufacturer’s U.S. debut.

Maxeon is eyeing a 160-acre site in Mesa del Sol, N.M., for its first U.S. manufacturing facility. Image courtesy of Maxeon Solar Technologies

Singapore-based Maxeon Solar Technologies has announced plans to open a 3-gigawatt facility in Albuquerque, N.M. The investment is estimated at more than $1 billion, with the manufacturer currently undergoing a construction loan application process through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office.

The plant is expected to produce millions of solar panels per year, starting in 2025. Maxeon is on an expansion journey, with its global manufacturing footprint currently including locations in Malaysia, the Philippines and Mexico.

Maxeon’s first U.S. facility

The Albuquerque plant will be the company’s first in the U.S., and the largest PV cell and panel manufacturing facility in New Mexico. The plant will produce TOPCon PV silicon cell technology, as well as shingled-cell solar modules. Maxeon CEO Bill Mulligan said in prepared remarks that the upcoming factory will attract further regional investments, contributing to reshoring and upscaling the U.S. solar supply chain.

Maxeon has selected a 160-acre site in Mesa Del Sol—a 12,900-acre, mixed-use, master-planned community—for its new facility, with construction expected to commence early next year. Plans call for a solar cell manufacturing plant, panel assembly capabilities, a warehouse and an administrative office, an investment that will create up to 1,800 jobs in the area, mostly in manufacturing and engineering.

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Although the project will be designed with a planned capacity double the size of the largest silicon solar manufacturing plant in the U.S., Maxeon is already considering upsizing its U.S. operations by roughly 50 percent to a capacity of 4.5 gigawatts.

Maxeon’s project will also mark the second large clean energy manufacturing plant to open in the state since the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act, according to a prepared statement from Senator Martin Heinrich.

The IRA’s clean energy-related incentives and funding allocations are expected to push U.S. businesses toward a more sustainable approach. The bill is anticipated to enable the U.S. to cut its carbon emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, while encouraging green manufacturers to establish operations in the U.S.

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