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Indian Solar Giant To Invest $1.5B In New U.S. Factories

A venture group backed by India’s second-largest solar energy company, Vikram Solar, will invest up to $1.5 billion in the U.S. solar energy supply chain, with the first investments going to a factory in Colorado next year, according to an exclusive Reuters report. 

The $250 million Colorado facility will be capable of producing 2 gigawatts (GW) of modules a year initially and double the capacity over time and will also create more than 900 jobs. 

Newly formed VSK Energy LLC will leverage India's extensive solar manufacturing know-how in the U.S. push to build a clean energy manufacturing sector that can compete with China. Vikram Solar Limited is one of the largest solar module manufacturers in India with 3.5 GW module manufacturing capacity annually.

"It's a great thing for us to be bringing an Indian company to the table here. You've seen a number of Indian companies get into the manufacturing space and do quite well, and Vikram is the best of them,"Sriram Das, managing director at Das & Co and chairman of the joint venture, has told Reuters.

The development comes just as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to make his first ever state visit to Washington despite the two nations disagreeing on Ukraine and human rights. It’s not clear whether Modi’s visit and the solar announcement are related.

The amount of capital investment flowing into the solar sector is poised to overtake the amount of investment going into oil production for the first time ever in 2023, the International Energy Association has reported

According to Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, solar investments are expected to attract over $1 billion a day in 2023 with over $1.7 trillion slated to flow clean energy technologies such as EVs, renewables and storage. Overall, global investment in energy is projected to hit ~$2.8 trillion in the current year. 

Speaking to CNBC’s Arabile Gumede on Thursday, Birol said there was a “growing gap between the investment in fossil energy and investment [in] clean energy. Clean energy is moving fast--faster than many people realize. This is clear in the investment trends, where clean technologies are pulling away from fossil fuels. For every dollar invested in fossil fuels, about 1.7 dollars are now going into clean energy.”

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By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com

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