Tech giant, Microsoft and Qcells, a leading provider of solar solutions, have announced a strategic partnership providing 12 gigawatts of solar panels, the equivalent to powering more than 1.8 million homes annually.
Under the agreement, Qcells will supply Microsoft with 12 gigawatts (GW) of solar modules and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services over the next eight years. Notably, this new partnership builds upon a prior commitment made in 2023 for 2.5 GW of modules and EPC services.
The partnership also aligns with Qcells’ efforts to solidify a secure U.S. solar supply chain and its focus on sustainable production. Microsoft, meanwhile, continues its investments in renewable energy procurement as part of its ambitious environmental goals, aiming to be carbon negative, water positive, and zero waste by 2030.
The agreement stipulates that an estimated 1.5 GW of solar panels will be delivered annually to projects contracted by Microsoft until 2032. These panels will be sourced from Qcells’ upcoming solar supply chain factory in Cartersville, Georgia, a key element of its $2.5 billion investment announced last year.
Currently, most panels assembled in the United States use components made in Asia, where prices have dropped sharply in the last year. Incentives in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act seek to bolster U.S. production of clean energy components to reduce the reliance on overseas-produced goods.
Justin Lee, CEO of Qcells, highlighted the partnership’s significance, saying “we are pleased to be a part of such a substantial commitment that will accelerate the global shift to renewable energy solutions. Qcells is uniquely positioned to ally with Microsoft towards creating a clean, sustainable future because of our investment in building an American-made solar supply chain.”
Meanwhile, Bobby Hollis, Vice President of Energy at Microsoft, emphasised the importance of large-scale domestic production of solar modules in advancing towards a clean energy economy. “Through long-term agreements like this we are signalling Microsoft’s demand and bringing more renewable energy to the grid, faster.”
Looking beyond the immediate partnership, both Qcells and Microsoft aim to advance a global clean energy ecosystem. Microsoft’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy coverage by 2025 aligns with Qcells’ comprehensive U.S. solar solutions, positioning them as valuable partners in achieving this target. The recent revival of the REC Silicon facility in Washington, due to investment from Qcells’ parent company, further underscores the commitment to a robust domestic supply chain.
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