A JM Steel worker on a Nextracker-dedicated production line in Sinton, Texas.
Nextracker and JM Steel, a division of JENNMAR USA, have debuted a dedicated solar tracker production line on the campus of the new Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) facility near Corpus Christi, Texas.
Nextracker launched a new facility with JM Steel to manufacture tracker components for solar power plants throughout the southern United States.
“Customers want protection from steel and logistics cost volatility, and logistics delays associated with shipping, containers and ports,” says Dan Shugar, founder and CEO of Nextracker. “We are migrating to domestic production to stabilize pricing and achieve superior on-time delivery for our customers. Moreover, U.S. steel manufacturers like SDI have a much cleaner, lower carbon production processes than most overseas manufacturers. With JM Steel, we are collocated next to SDI Sinton, the newest steel mill in America, further lowering cost and improving sustainability by integrating key manufacturing activities on a single campus.”
A dependable steel supply is central to utility-scale solar, which is now the lowest cost form of energy in many locations. In response to global supply disruptions, Nextracker made the strategic decision to focus on manufacturing in the United States. Partnering with JM Steel, Nextracker will have a dedicated supply of critical materials in Texas and the Southern U.S.
“JM Steel’s proximity to SDI will provide Nextracker and their customers cost-effective products with quick response times to feed the growing solar market in Texas and the South,” statesTony Calandra, CEO of JM Steel and JENNMAR USA. “And all of the steel being used to make Nextracker’s products will be made with SDI’s newest Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) technology, which utilizes recycled or scrap steel as a raw material for a lower carbon footprint which is a perfect fit for Nextracker’s solar products.”
Steel manufacturing typically is energy-intensive, but the Electric Arc Furnace, a next-generation process, is much more efficient and cuts pollution dramatically. EAF-based steel mills typically are as much as 75% less carbon-intensive than traditional blast furnaces.
“SDI is thrilled to welcome our customers JM Steel and Nextracker to our Sinton, Texas campus, and supply our environmentally-preferred low carbon steel for Nextracker’s innovative solar tracker products,” mentions Barry Schneider, senior vice president of Flat Rolled Steel Group at Steel Dynamics.