Governor Polis and the Global Business Development Division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced today that VSK Energy Inc. (VSK), a new joint venture developing a vertically integrated solar manufacturing operation in the United States, has selected Brighton, Colorado for expansion.
“Colorado is one of the top states in the country for solar production so this expansion in Brighton will help build upon our plans to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040, create more than 900 new good-paying jobs for Coloradans and contribute to our state’s thriving economy. More and more companies are flocking to Colorado because we are the best place to live and do business so we are thrilled to welcome VSK to Colorado,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
VSK is a majority U.S.-owned and operated joint venture between one of the largest solar energy solutions providers, India-based Vikram Solar, sustainability-focused private equity firm Phalanx Impact Partners, and investment and development firm Das & Co. which has expertise in the solar industry in the United States, India and emerging markets. Colorado and the Polis Administration have a shared interest with India to foster sustainable energy solutions. Governor Polis conducted his first official trade and investment mission to India in 2019, which included a focus on renewable energy and clean technologies.
The Colorado factory is one of two investments planned for the United States. In Brighton, VSK will invest $250 million to develop an American solar photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing facility that is projected to create over 900 net new jobs.
"The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act was a landmark moment for the clean energy future of the United States," said Sriram Das, Co-Chairman of VSK Energy. "The Biden Administration and Congress have called for immediate action and, through our partnership in VSK, we are taking a decisive step towards achieving solar technology self-sufficiency, fortifying America's energy security, and propelling large-scale solar deployment. I am also particularly proud to bring together leaders from both the United States and India to make this investment and commitment to America's clean energy future."
"At Vikram Solar, we place a strong emphasis on family and doing well in business by doing good in our communities,” said Ashwini Agarwal, Head of Commercial CapEx for Vikram Solar. “It's been clear to us from the start that Colorado and the Brighton community are a strong cultural fit and a strategic partner to the VSK joint venture as we develop advanced solar manufacturing in the United States. We couldn't be more excited for this moment and for what's to come as we work together to build a clean energy future for us all."
"Colorado's commitment to being a leader in clean energy, its central location in the U.S., and its highly-skilled, highly-educated workforce make it a perfect fit for VSK's module assembly facility,” said Jay Sharma, Co-Chairman of VSK Energy. “We are incredibly excited about our partnership with Colorado and our future within the Brighton community as we work together to shape a brighter, more sustainable future."
The Brighton factory will be located at the recently completed 76 Commerce Center, which is owned by Mortenson Properties and Hyde Development. A leading solar engineering, procurement, construction, and commercial contracting firm, Mortenson will oversee the engineering and construction of the Brighton Factory as well as a second facility planned for the Southern U.S.
Colorado’s central location within the U.S. along with Brighton’s accessibility to Denver International Airport and several interstate highways will be key in supporting VSK’s growth, along with the availability of a modernized facility that meets production needs. The state’s top workforce also played an important role in the decision.
“Cleantech in Colorado contributes $4.6 billion per year to the state’s economy and employs over 62,000 Colorado workers. By establishing a new solar manufacturing facility in Brighton, VSK will grow this important employment sector and help further Colorado’s commitment to grow clean energy technologies,” said Eve Lieberman, Executive Director of OEDIT.
The jobs at the Brighton factory will include engineers, technical operators, manufacturing laborers, and administrative staff, with an average salary of more than $70,000. This is more than 105% of the average annual wage of Adams County. VSK Energy expects the facility to open in 2024 with an initial capacity of 2 Gigawatts (GW) in solar PV modules and planned expansion of up to 4 GW.
"The City of Brighton and Brighton Economic Development Corporation are excited to welcome VSK Energy Inc. (VSK), to Brighton as one of our top employers," said Robin Martinez, President & CEO of the Brighton Economic Development Corporation. "Brighton is a prime location for CleanTech companies to locate and grow with the vast number of resources available and we welcome VSK to our community."
"We are thrilled VSK has selected Adams County as their new U.S. base and extend a warm welcome as they join our vibrant community,” said Adams County Commission Chairman Steve O'Dorisio. “We are confident that the company will greatly benefit from our exceptional local talent pool, while our robust transportation infrastructure will effortlessly connect them with both domestic and international markets. With VSK's arrival, Adams County's renewable sector, encompassing wind, solar, and battery technology, continues to flourish, making it the ideal hub for innovation and sustainable growth."
“We are thrilled to welcome VSK Energy, Inc. to the Metro Denver region," said Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation President Raymond H. Gonzales. "The addition of solar manufacturing facilities like VSK bolster Colorado as a leader in sustainability. This move is not only great for maintaining our beautiful landscape, but also for our diverse energy economy. With Colorado having some of the most ambitious climate goals over the next few decades, companies like VSK help us innovate and stay competitive. We cannot wait to see what VSK will accomplish here."
The Colorado Economic Development Commission approved up to $9,173,689 in performance-based Job Growth Incentive Tax Credits for VSK over an 8-year period. These incentives are contingent upon the company, referred to as Project Pothos throughout the OEDIT review process, creating up to 951 net new full-time jobs at a minimum average annual wage of $65,312 (100% of the average annual wage in Adams County) or 100% of the average annual wage of any Colorado county the company decides to locate over eight years.