Arcadis to deliver 10GW US solar factory


CubicPV plans first silicon wafer manufacturing facility in the United States as the Inflation Reduction Act drives solar industry onshoring. 

Arcadis has been appointed to provide full architectural and engineering design services to solar manufacturing innovator CubicPV (“Cubic”) for its planned 10GW silicon wafer manufacturing facility in the United States.

The new wafer campus will use Perovskite and silicon to generate more efficient solar panels than silicon-only cells. It is also seen as a strategic US initiative to develop a domestic solar component manufacturing sector as envisaged by the Federal Government’s Inflation Reduction Act.

In addition to providing multi-disciplinary engineering, architecture, advanced industrial process design and project management services for the solar manufacturing facility, Arcadis will also engage with key stakeholders of the project, including construction contractors, agencies having jurisdiction, and the local community when the final site is chosen from two prospective locations.

Matt DeMarco, North America business development leader for Arcadis Places, commented: “As the US works towards a nationwide reduction of carbon emissions, we’re proud to be part of the team that is bringing to life a facility critical to the energy transition. This marquee project not only puts Arcadis’ global strategy around sustainability into action, but also capitalises on the synergies of our global business, our expanded architecture and urbanism group and high-tech industry, engineering, and construction management expertise from the recently acquired DPS Group.”

Why Persovskite and why now?

While almost all photovoltaic panels are made with silicon, Perovskite can expand the range of solar photons captured for energy output beyond that of silicon alone. It is also very cheap to produce – costing around a tenth that of silicon units – which means the use of Perovskite can enhance energy production efficiency with relatively little extra cost. 

Perovskite is one of several materials being examined to enhance solar panel production this way, although many others come with relatively high costs or can prove damaging to the environment in other ways. It is also an appeal option because it can be found in the US state of Arkansas, as well as in stable trading partners like Switzerland and Italy. 

The company behind the plans for a major factory in the USA – CubicPV – is capitalising on this, and the political situation in the USA where the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year represents the largest US investment in clean energy in history. That act includes support to catalyze US solar manufacturing and comes as the USA also aims to reduce dependence on Chinese manufacturing. 

Having undertaken early design work, and with a decision on the location due soon, David Gustafson, president of CubicPV Wafer facility, said: “With the initial phases of our engineering and design work complete, we knew we needed a firm of Arcadis’ caliber to carry the work forward and make it US ready. Their familiarity in executing large global projects, industry leadership, solid record in design and consultancy and focus on sustainability were deciding factors during the selection process. It’s an exceptional fit.”