SoloPower, Inc. said today (January 14) that it is expanding into Oregon with a new high production photovoltaic facility that should start operations this year. Under the initial phase of construction, the company should be able to produce 75 megawatts of its thin-film Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) solar cells annually. The modules are flexible and can be essentially glued to commercial or other rooftops.
The company plans to break ground on project soon. “We anticipate we'll begin the project this spring sometime...and have the first line operational by sometime in December,” said Peter Kesser, SoloPower's senior vice president for sales and marketing.
When the first phase of construction is complete, the plant will only produce about a quarter of its total capacity when completed. “Total production for the facility when it's fully operational will be 300 MW annually,” according to Kesser.
The new facility will significantly boost the company’s production capacity. According to its site, the company’s San Jose facility was expected to produce about 20 MWs of its solar modules annually in 2008, when it was completed.
Oregon has suffered, more than other states, from the recession and job creation is essential to Governor John Kitzhaber (D). In a press release, he said “SoloPower is bringing exactly the kind of new jobs Oregon needs. By bringing their manufacturing headquarters to Wilsonville, we are continuing on the path toward establishing a stronger clean technology manufacturing base in Oregon.”
The company said the initial manufacturing line will create 170 new jobs. When completed, the facility is expected to employ roughly 500 people.
Kesser said that “the business package that Oregon put together was very compelling.” The company, he said, considered numerous sites, both domestic and international.
The company said the facility will cost roughly $340 million to develop. To help, Oregon’s Small Scale Energy Loan Program (SELP) Advisory Committee recommended that the Oregon Department of Energy approve a $20 million loan to SoloPower. The company also applied for a $20 million Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) from Oregon. The company said it also applied for a federal Department of Energy loan-guarantee to support development of the additional manufacturing lines.
Image courtesy of SoloPower