13 April 2011

Soitec wins three contracts from SDG&E up to 30MW of solar power

Subsidiaries of Soitec Solar Development LLC, a firm managed by Soitec of Bernin, France, which makes engineered substrates including silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers (as well as III-V epiwafers through its Picogiga International division), has signed three contracts to supply a combined capacity of 30MW of solar energy to Californian public utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E, a subsidiary of energy services holding company Sempra Energy that supplies 3.5 million consumers in San Diego and southern Orange counties).

The electricity will be generated at three solar power plant sites in San Diego County that will use Soitec Concentrix technology. The concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) modules will be manufactured in a new Soitec factory to be built in the San Diego area.

“Including these three new contracts, SDG&E has signed nine renewable contracts over the past year for more than 1100MW of green energy, with nearly 520MW from solar power, including a contract for up to 150MW that also uses Concentrix technology [via Tenaska Solar Ventures (a division of independent energy firm Tenaska of Omaha, Nebraska)],” says James P. Avery, SDG&E’s senior VP of power supply. “Combined with another local solar contract we signed last year, these latest solar projects will increase the total amount of solar power generated in San Diego County by about 60%.”

These three projects will produce enough solar energy to serve more than 11,200 households a year and further contribute to SDG&E reaching its RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) goals. The projects will deploy Concentrix ground-mounted dual-axis tracking CPV solar power systems, which use lenses to concentrate sunlight onto very small, highly efficient solar cells.

“Our CPV systems are perfectly suited for projects close to well-populated areas, as the high system efficiency of CPV minimizes the amount of land needed for a given amount of electricity production,” says Soitec’s CEO & chairman of the board André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé. “We are committed to the US market and look forward to increasing our presence in the San Diego community with all of our San Diego operations.”

Soitec will implement capacity investments and pursue options for related financing to construct its San Diego area factory. At full capacity, Soitec’s San Diego area operations will generate up to 450 direct jobs and more than 1000 indirect jobs. The factory location is expected to be announced this summer, with completion within 18 months of starting construction. Soitec’s delivery of the CPV systems for these three new solar energy facilities in San Diego County will begin in 2013 and finish in 2014.

The three power purchase contracts require approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.

Tags: Soitec CPV

Visit: www.soitec.com

Visit: www.sdge.com

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