Summit Ridge Energy and Qcells Announce Largest Community Solar Partnership in the U.S.

Summit Ridge Energy (SRE), the nation’s largest commercial solar company, announced today that it has signed an agreement with Qcells, a leading provider of complete energy solutions, to purchase 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of solar panels to support its development pipeline. This marks the largest equipment purchase in history within the community solar industry and is viewed by Qcells and SRE as the beginning of bringing American-made clean energy to communities large and small.
Summit Ridge Energy and Qcells Announce Largest Community Solar Partnership in the U.S.
Courtesy of Summit Ridge Energy

SRE will use the solar panels to develop more than 350 solar projects over the next four years, with the first 200 megawatts (MW) to be installed before the end of 2023. Once complete, the projects will generate enough clean electricity to power an estimated 140,000 homes and businesses, further cementing SRE’s position as the nation’s leading community solar provider. The agreement between SRE and Qcells also includes 20 MWh of energy storage.

A majority of the solar panels purchased by SRE  will be produced in Qcells’ US manufacturing facilities. Made possible in part because of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes landmark tax incentives for domestic energy production and manufacturing, the deal is one of the clearest validations yet of the IRA’s positive impact. The legislation is also helping to accelerate SRE’s construction pipeline and support its investment in domestically manufactured solar infrastructure. Additionally, the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act included in the IRA is playing a key role in Qcells’ plans to build a fully integrated, domestic supply chain that its customers, like SRE, can rely on.

Community solar projects are a method of providing solar to individuals and businesses who are not able to install solar panels because they are renters or lack the ability to go solar for other reasons. Typically, multiple customers can subscribe and receive a credit on their utility bill for their share of power produced, just as if the panels were on their own roof.

SRE’s solar projects may also qualify for IRA tax credits related to supporting Low to Moderate Income (LMI) households and many will be constructed in low-income and Energy Communities — a core component of SRE’s development strategy.

The agreement builds on the existing relationship between SRE and Qcells, including a recent  partnership to deploy three standalone energy storage projects in New York City that total more than 46 MWh and utilize Qcells’ Geli energy management system. It also comes shortly after Qcells announced plans to invest $2.5 billion to build a fully integrated, silicon-based supply chain in the United States, making the company the first to do so.

Earlier this year, Qcells broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art facility in Bartow County, Georgia that will manufacture 3.3 GW of solar ingots, wafers, cells, and finished panels, respectively. When complete, Qcells solar panels — from polysilicon to the finished panel — will be fully made in America.

“I am proud to be in Dalton today to announce the largest community solar order in American history—made possible by the investments our Administration has made to expand American manufacturing and increase demand for clean energy. When we invest in climate, clean energy, and manufacturing, we invest in America. President Biden and I will continue to fight to create opportunity in every community,”said Vice President Kamala Harris.

"Community solar is key to bringing affordable, reliable clean energy to communities large and small, urban and rural, low-income or working class. The Qcells and SRE partnership will ensure more communities can access the endless benefits solar power offers, including cleaner air, lower energy bills, and more jobs,” said Justin Lee, CEO of Qcells.

“This partnership will allow SRE to provide clean energy to more American communities and businesses, while simultaneously supporting our domestic manufacturing industry. We must continue to find ways to bring affordable electricity to everyday Americans, particularly communities that have historically relied on fossil fuels.

“The IRA has provided important incentives to drive clean energy adoption and meet climate targets, and now the industry needs partnerships like the one between Qcells and SRE to put policy into practice,” said SRE’s CEO, Steve Raeder.

"Working closely alongside Qcells, my solar manufacturing law continues to expand opportunities in Georgia and nationwide. This new partnership will help deploy Georgia-made solar technology across the country. I thank Hanwha Qcells' team, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and all involved in today's announcement for their partnership and support for Georgia,” said Senator Jon Ossoff.

“The Inflation Reduction Act is continuing to create good-paying green jobs and support a sustainable energy supply in Georgia and across the country. We need to meet 21st-century challenges with 21st-century ingenuity, and this latest community solar partnership will help do just that. I’ll continue to prioritize federal investments like these to keep Georgia’s economy growing strong,” said Senator Reverend Warnock.

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