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Sumter lands $66M plant – here’s what it will make

Ross Norton //April 26, 2023//

Sumter lands $66M plant – here’s what it will make

Ross Norton //April 26, 2023//

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SEM Wafertech Inc. and Solar4America Technology Inc., both owned by renewable energy company SPI Energy Co. Ltd., will establish a presence in South Carolina with a $65.9 million investment in Sumter County.

The company already manufactures solar panels at this California plant. (Photo/Provided)The company said today the solar panel manufacturing project will create 300 new jobs, according to a news release from the South Carolina Commerce Department.

SEM Wafertech is a solar wafer manufacturer with headquarters in McClellan Park, Calif., near Sacramento.

“As a global renewable energy company making American-made solar wafers and modules, we recognize the importance of having a strong domestic supply chain to meet the fast-growing demand for affordable solar power,” SEM Wafertech Inc. and Solar4America Technology Inc. Chairman Denton Peng said in the new release. “We plan to bring the highest quality domestically produced solar wafers and modules to market, enhancing our nation’s manufacturing capabilities with a long-term investment that will create good paying jobs for South Carolina.”

The new facility will help meet an increasing need for locally sourced solar wafers as the overall demand for solar power continues to grow in the United States, according to the news release. SEM Wafertech is targeting delivery and production of its first solar wafers in the nation by the end of the year, with capacity ramping to three gigawatts by 2024.

“I am personally thrilled to welcome SEM Wafertech and Solar4America to Sumter County, succeeding many exciting investments announced in recent months across South Carolina,” S.C. House speaker Murrell Smith said in the release. “With an investment of more than $65 million and the creation of 300 new jobs, SEM Wafertech and Solar4America will be welcome additions to the region, and to our state’s growing number of globally recognized renewable energy and EV-related companies — continuing to make our state’s economy diverse and prosperous. I welcome them to the Sumter family, where I know we will create an enduring partnership in our community.”
Solar4America is a prime solar module manufacturing company that produces “Made in the USA” solar modules. In combination with its facility in Sacramento, the new South Carolina facility will allow Solar4America to manufacture a wider variety of solar panels for customers, with an aim to increase capacity to 2.4 gigawatts by the end of the year.

SEM Wafertech and Solar4America plan to occupy an existing building located at 1150 Clipper Road in Sumter, where they will design, build out and install a “world-class” silicon wafer slicing facility, the news release said. Silicon wafers produced in the facility will be used in a variety of applications, including photovoltaic cells and semiconductors. Solar panels will serve commercial, residential and industrial energy generation and storage needs.

Operations are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023. Individuals interested in joining the team should visit the company’s website.

“We are thrilled to add another company to our growing family of industrial leaders in Sumter and are enthusiastic about the corporate investment and jobs that will be a result of this project,” Sumter Mayor David Merchant said in the release. “The city of Sumter is also proud to partner with the company to support the needed infrastructure improvements for high quality industrial water and wastewater services.”
The Commerce Department’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to this project. The council also awarded a $1.5 million Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to Sumter County to assist with the costs of water and wastewater improvements and building improvements.