Nextracker opens manufacturing line in Texas to counter supply chain disruptions

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JM Steel workers on the dedicated Nextracker production line. Image: Nextracker.

US tracker maker Nextracker has responded to global supply chain disruptions by opening a new production line in Texas at a campus of steel producer Steel Dynamics.

Located near Corpus Christi, the line will manufacture tracker components for solar projects in the southern United States and will have an annual tracker capacity of several gigawatts when fully operational.

Nextracker is migrating to domestic production to stabilize prices and ensure on-time delivery, said company CEO and founder Dan Shugar. “Customers want protection against the volatility of steel and logistics costs, and the logistical delays associated with shipping, containers and ports.”

The manufacturer’s decision to address supply disruptions comes as research suggests Large-scale solar additions in the United States will contract this year as commodity price volatility and supply chain uncertainty lead to project delays and cancellations.

Nextracker said it will have a dedicated supply of critical materials in one of the fastest growing and largest solar markets, with Texas overtaking California last year as the highest-ranked US state for solar capacity additions, deploying more than 6 GW in 2021.

Giving Nextracker the ability to serve key markets by truck, while offering easy access to railroads and a deep-water port, the new line is the result of a collaboration with JM Steel, which operates a 97,000 square feet on the Steel Dynamics site.

The partners touted the sustainable production processes on the Steel Dynamics campus, with all steel used for the trackers made with the company’s electric arc furnace technology, which uses recycled steel or scrap metal. as raw material.

“American steelmakers like Steel Dynamics Incorporated have much cleaner, lower-carbon production processes than most overseas manufacturers,” Shugar said.

It was announced earlier this year that Nextracker will be spun off from parent company Flex after securing a $500 million stock sale, valuing the manufacturer at around $3 billion.

The company has since launched a new single axis trackerdubbed NX Horizon-XTR, which is designed to expand the addressable market for solar projects on sites with sloping and uneven terrain.

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