Renewable energy developer Invenergy plans to spend $220 million to build a solar panel production plant in central Ohio as demand for polysylicon photovoltaic solar equipment grows in the U.S.

The 1.1-million-sq-ft plant is set to have a 5-GW annual capacity, which state economic development corporation JobsOhio says is nearly half the capacity of all utility-scale solar installed in the U.S. last year.

Construction is scheduled to start in April. Dorsey Hager, executive secretary-treasurer of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council, said in a statement that he anticipates 150 union construction jobs being supported by the project.

Invenergy is partnering with Chinese solar equipment manufacturer LONGi on the venture, which they have named Illuminate USA, to produce panels, according to JobsOhio. The construction cost is part of $600 million that Invenergy has pledged to invest in the industrial site in Pataskala, Ohio, about 20 miles east of Columbus in Licking County.

Chicago-based Invenergy, which was named ENR Midwest's 2022 Owner of the Year, also plans to serve as the anchor customer of the plant. The company says its portfolio includes 775 MW of solar power in Ohio, and has developed solar projects across the U.S. and overseas.

J.P. Nauseef, president and CEO of JobsOhio, said in a statement that the project “is a critical step to establishing a more complete solar power supply chain in the United States as market demand for clean energy grows.”

The latest climate report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released March 20, highlights solar as the energy source with the greatest potential contribution to net greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2030.

Solar is also an area targeted by the Biden administration for increased domestic manufacturing. Last year’s Inflation Reduction Act established tax credits for U.S.-based solar manufacturers and extended tax incentives for use of U.S.-made solar equipment. The White House says the U.S. is on track to increase domestic solar manufacturing capacity from 7.5 GW in 2021 to 22.5 GW next year.

Art Fletcher, executive vice president of global sourcing at Invenergy, said in a statement that, “as an American company and leading developer and operator of solar projects in the U.S., we recognize the importance of having a strong domestic supply chain to meet the fast-growing demand for affordable solar power.”