400 MW expansion of Mountain Iron facility will bring Heliene’s total manufacturing footprint to 900 MW
High speed production line will feature advanced automation technologies to enhance delivery of Tier 1 solar modules in Minnesota and North America
PVTIME – Heliene, a Customer-First provider of North American made solar modules, today announced a $21 million investment in a new manufacturing facility located in Mountain Iron, Minnesota, bringing the company’s total manufacturing capacity to 900 megawatts (MW). Heliene has experienced significant growth since starting its U.S. operations in Mountain Iron in 2017. Construction will commence this September, adjacent to the existing facility, with manufacturing set to begin in June 2022. The expansion will enable Heliene to meet accelerating solar demand while ensuring certainty and high quality of the U.S. solar supply chain, in alignment with the Biden Administration’s clean energy goals.
“The State of Minnesota is proud to collaborate with Heliene and the City of Mountain Iron to expand Minnesota’s largest solar panel manufacturer to bring jobs to the region. This is a good day for the Iron Range, and a good day for Minnesota’s clean energy economy,” said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.
The construction of a new building will expand the Mountain Iron campus to a total of 95,000 square feet and will bring an additional 60 high paying clean energy jobs to the area, further diversifying employment opportunities in the region. The manufacturing line will feature advanced automation technologies to enhance production efficiency, product quality and safety, while providing employees the opportunity to upskill, focus on higher order tasks and adapt to the Industry 4.0 era. Production will focus on the manufacturing of solar modules with M6, M10 and M12 size super high efficiency Monocrystalline PERC cells.
“Amid consistently strong solar demand and trade volatility, our customers seek peace of mind that they are receiving the highest quality, competitively priced solar modules exactly when and where they need them,” said Martin Pochtaruk, chief executive officer, Heliene. “The investment in this ultra-efficient new manufacturing line will significantly increase the rate of American Made module delivery while eliminating costly supply chain risks for customers.”
“A strong manufacturing industry is key to our state’s economic prosperity,” said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. “The expansion of this plant will make Heliene the second largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the U.S., creating good-paying jobs and enhancing our supply chains. I’m committed to supporting our country’s transition to a clean energy future and will continue working to strengthen this sector in Minnesota.”
As part of efforts to grow clean energy markets in the region and create manufacturing jobs, several public organizations provided funding to Mountain Iron’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) to support Heliene’s expansion. The Minnesota Department of Employee and Economic Development and Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation, each provided a $2.75 million loan to the EDA.
In addition, Heliene received a $5.5 million grant from the State of Minnesota’s Renewable Development Account, which funds projects that boost the state’s electrification and climate change abatement efforts. St. Louis County, where the Mountain Iron plant is located, awarded Heliene a $1 million grant as well.
“Heliene is one of the fastest-growing producers of solar panels in North America and we could not be happier that they are expanding production in Mountain Iron, Minnesota,” said State Senator David Tomassoni. “The state’s investment in Heliene will create jobs on the Iron Range and help us to deliver solar energy to the rest of the state and nation.”
“Minnesotans know that clean energy is key to our economic future. With this expansion, Heliene will create more Minnesota jobs while building up manufacturing supply chains in the solar industry,” said Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota. “We can either lead or follow when it comes to the clean energy transition, and projects like this show that Minnesota is ready to lead.”
“This significant investment in Minnesota’s legendary Iron Range further highlights the need to responsibly develop our abundance of critical minerals located here in the Duluth Complex to be used in renewable energies like the ones produced by Heliene. I look forward to the day when we can say that these goods are manufactured in Minnesota and mined in Minnesota,” said Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08).
In August, Heliene announced its third North American manufacturing facility located in Riviera Beach, Florida. Heliene’s Florida facility is the only solar module plant in the U.S. to produce super high-efficiency heterojunction solar cell modules for commercial and residential applications.
As a member of the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America (SEMA) Coalition and the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA), Heliene is committed to generating well-paying manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and strengthening America’s solar supply chain to accelerate clean energy adoption and reach national decarbonization targets.