Ballard Power Systems to Launch Fuel Cell Gigafactory in Texas with $54 Million IRS Investment

Image depicting Hydrogen Fuel Pumps

(Credit: Unsplash)

by | Apr 2, 2024

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Ballard Power Systems, a leader in fuel cell technology, recently announced its receipt of $54 million in investment tax credits from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Ballard plans to channel these funds into establishing a new fuel cell Gigafactory in Rockwall, Texas, aiming to bolster the domestic production of clean energy solutions. The funding comes under the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Tax Credit (48C), a part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which offers a 30% investment tax credit to promote clean energy manufacturing projects in the U.S.

Strategic Move Towards Decarbonization and Energy Security

Randy MacEwen, President & Chief Executive Officer of Ballard, highlighted the company’s role in addressing the global push for decarbonization, energy security, and technological innovation. He emphasized the growing market demand and the strategic importance of providing cost-effective, large-scale fuel cell solutions.

The $54 million tax credit, alongside a previously secured $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, equips Ballard with $94 million in federal funding to support the Rockwall Gigafactory’s development. The facility is expected to commence operations by late 2027, addressing the anticipated capacity constraints of Ballard’s existing North American production capabilities.

The U.S. funding news comes on the heels of Ballard Power Systems announcement of a new Long Term Supply Agreement (LTSA) with Solaris Bus & Coach sp. z o.o., a leading European bus manufacturer. Under this agreement, Ballard will supply 1,000 hydrogen fuel cell engines to Solaris through 2027 to revolutionize the European transit bus market. This deal includes around 300 fuel cell engines from existing orders along with after-market and extended warranty services, plus an additional commitment for roughly 700 new fuel cell engines and related services.

These hydrogen fuel cell engines are destined for deployment across Europe, where Solaris buses equipped with Ballard’s technology are already operational in over 22 cities. This expansion accents the growing recognition of hydrogen fuel cells’ benefits: zero emissions, quick refueling times, and long ranges without sacrificing performance or operational capability.

Integration of this significant development into Ballard’s operational and strategic narratives gives emphasis to the company’s commitment to leading the global transition towards sustainable transportation solutions.

Rockwall Gigafactory: A Milestone in Fuel Cell Production

Set to be located within the Rockwall Technology Park, the Gigafactory, named Ballard Rockwall Giga 1, will see an initial investment of approximately $110 million, adjusted for the received federal grants and tax credits. Phase I of this project focuses on manufacturing key fuel cell components, aiming for an annual production capacity sufficient to support 3 gigawatts of fuel cells.

Mark Biznek, Ballard’s Chief Operating Officer, expressed confidence in the project’s progress and its alignment with the company’s global manufacturing strategy, which seeks to meet future demands and achieve attractive financial returns. The planned facility affirms Ballard’s resolution to expand technological innovation, supply chain collaboration, and the integration of advanced manufacturing processes to enhance cost efficiency.

The final investment decision for Ballard Rockwall Giga 1 is anticipated later in 2024, pending the completion of necessary approvals and documentation.

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