First solar-powered cobalt factory in the U.S. planned for Yuma

Battery storage at a solar farm with switchgear or switch gear in the background. Dorothy Chiron / Shutterstock

EVelution Energy is building the first U.S. solar-powered cobalt processing facility in Yuma County, Arizona.

Construction is expected to begin in 2024, with the facility fully operational in 2026. The $200 million investment will provide approximately 300 construction jobs and 60 on-site jobs. Cobalt sulfate is a key part of the EV supply chain. With EVelution’s new factory, approximately 33,000 tons of EV battery-grade cobalt sulfate will be produced for 470,000 new EVs per year.

“EVelution Energy’s investment in Arizona, helped by our energy and infrastructure laws, will strengthen our critical minerals supply chains, our national security, and our energy independence,” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz, said. “We’ll keep working together, creating lasting careers and an economy that benefits everyone in our state.”

EVelution Energy LLC is a subsidiary of the EVelution Energy Qualified Opportunity Zone LP, organized under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, providing long-term investments and infrastructure in underserved communities.

“I believe EVelution Energy is a good project for Yuma County,” said Darren Simmons, Yuma County Supervisor for District 3. “We as a community look forward to working closely with EVelution Energy to proactively address community concerns as the project moves forward, ensuring the facility will add value to the community and has a strong foundation for long-term success in Yuma County.”

The factory will be built along the I-8 corridor, with its 139.5-acre property spanning the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad. It is approximately 4 hours from the ports of San Diego, California and Ensenada, Mexico, allowing for the swift shipment of cobalt hydroxide feedstock from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“EVelution Energy’s new facility represents a significant addition to Arizona’s battery manufacturing ecosystem,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We are grateful to EVelution Energy for choosing Yuma County for this innovative facility that will drive further economic growth in rural Arizona.”

With legislation going into place across the country in favor of EVs, such as California’s all-EV by 2035 mandate, the market is expected to grow by 35-37% between 2022-2028. Currently, all other solar-powered battery-grade cobalt production facilities are located in China.

EVelution’s new factory is just one of many recent investments in rural Arizona. Optimal Health System introduced an expansion in Pima, FrameTec is building a facility in Camp Verde and Nucor is expanding its steel facility in Kingman.

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.