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AES group aims to buy $6B in solar panels

Jun 22, 2022
Illustration of solar panels with dollar bills in them

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

AES is part of a new consortium of solar energy buyers, alongside Clearway Energy Group, Cypress Creek Renewables and D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments.

Why it matters: AES, a Fortune 500 company, is among the top suppliers of clean energy to tech behemoths Amazon, Microsoft and Google. The consortium could make its pitch to any tech holdouts all that more appealing by further driving down solar project costs.

What's happening: AES CEO Andrés Gluski tells Axios that the group will address the solar industry's "urgent need" for stable domestic production on the supply side amid rocky global supply chains by committing to purchasing $6 billion worth of solar panels.

  • The group is soliciting pitches from domestic suppliers and expects to sign the deals in the next two to four months, Gluski says.
  • The consortium will procure 7 GW of crystalline silicon solar modules per year starting in 2024, accounting for about one-fourth of the solar market in the U.S.
  • AES Clean Energy president Leonardo Moreno says it is open to adding more corporate members to the consortium.

The intrigue: AES embarked on a similar project five years ago but was shut out of the competitive market due to tariffs on components, Gluski says.

  • He is more optimistic this time around given the administration's more recent moves to bolster the domestic solar market.

💭 Our thought bubble: This is just the latest corporate-led effort aimed at proving out the market for climate technology, pointing to an increased role companies can play as the sector carries momentum forward.

  • Stripe recently launched Frontier Fund, a $1 billion tranche dedicated to funding carbon capture projects in early stages.

This item has been corrected to reflect that AES is a member of the U.S. Solar Buyer Consortium, but is not leading it.

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