Soitec, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, has opened its North American solar manufacturing facility in San Diego, CA.
Less than one year after the facility was acquired by Soitec, the factory is equipped with a state-of-the-art automated production line and is operational. The concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) modules produced in San Diego will support hundreds of MWp of contracts for utility-scale projects in California. In 2011, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved 300MWp of PPAs which are expected to use Soitec’s Concentrix technology.
Soitec acquired the 176,000ft2 manufacturing center on 14.8 acres of land in December 2011. This major project for Soitec represents an investment of more than $150 million. The company has completed on schedule an extensive upgrade of the facilities to install fully automated manufacturing equipment and processes. The first module was produced in October, and the first phase (140MWp) of the production line is now operational, as initially planned. The factory has been designed to reach 280MWp in capacity at full production.
The factory should create 450 jobs at full capacity, including employees for the joint venture Reflexite Soitec Optical Technology LLC. This new company operates a manufacturing operation within the facility developing and manufacturing leading- edge silicone-on-glass (SOG) Fresnel lens plates used in Soitec’s CPV modules.
“I want to congratulate Soitec on the opening of its factory here in San Diego, and thank the many organizations and individuals who worked together to help bring the company to San Diego. The city, CleanTECH San Diego, the Regional EDC, UC San Diego and SDG&E combined their resources to show Soitec that San Diego was as enticing as any other region in the desert Southwest, and as a result Soitec chose to bring 450 new jobs to San Diego and invest in the future of their company here because of our green credentials and our leadership in renewable energy,” says San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.
With this manufacturing plant, Soitec will become one of the top three manufacturers of solar modules in the USA. This will help Soitec provide cost-effective renewable energy systems and put the company in an ideal position to support its customers with a dedicated local team.
“By producing high volumes of CPV modules at this facility, we are now able to help California meet its renewable energy goals and further support the US market. Soitec already manages six factories around the world, and this gives us strong expertise in industrial processes, manufacturing and quality systems. We have also installed CPV systems in 14 countries on four continents. I am very pleased and honored that we can now offer the full benefits of this know-how in meeting U.S. needs,” says André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, chairman and CEO of Soitec.