14 January 2011

CIGS PV firm SoloPower to build panel production plant in Oregon

SoloPower Inc of San Jose, CA, USA, which makes flexible, lightweight copper indium gallium di-selenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules using a proprietary roll-to-roll electro-deposition process, is to locate a new high-volume manufacturing facility in Wilsonville, OR.

The Small Scale Energy Loan Program (SELP) Advisory Committee recommended approval to the Oregon Department of Energy for a $20m loan to SoloPower. The firm has also applied for a Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) of $20m from the State of Oregon.

The State funding supplements $51.575m in equity and warrant/option financing raised last month from existing investors Crosslink Capital (of San Francisco), Convexa A/S (of Oslo, Norway) and Hudson Clean Energy Partners LP (of Teaneck, NJ), according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in order to expand SoloPower’s existing 109,000ft2 San Jose plant and finance construction of a new plant. Previously, SoloPower (which was founded in 2005) raised $230m in 2008 alone, followed by $44.9m in debt financing last February.

The Oregon State programs aim to enable the firm to rapidly scale up production, while providing an economic boost to the community, creating jobs and supporting local businesses. The initial phase of the expansion will be the construction of a 75MW manufacturing line that will create 170 jobs. Upon completion, the facility is expected to involve a total investment of about $340m, employ about 500 staff, and have capacity of 300MW, greatly enhancing SoloPower’s ability to provide modules to its growing list of global customers. SoloPower is also in discussions with the US Department of Energy to obtain a loan guarantee under Section 1703 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to support the construction of the additional production lines.

“By bringing their manufacturing headquarters to Wilsonville, we are continuing on the path toward establishing a stronger clean technology manufacturing base in Oregon,” says Oregon’s Governor John Kitzhaber.

“We are very pleased to welcome SoloPower and its advanced technology solar panel manufacturing operation, including its manufacturing headquarters, to Wilsonville,” comments Tim McCabe, the director of Business Oregon, who describes Oregon as North America’s number-one solar manufacturing cluster.

“We are committed to supporting the solar industry help fulfill national and state goals furthering sustainability and energy independence,” says Wilsonville’s mayor Tim Knapp. “The City is partnering with Business Oregon with the help of Clackamas County to promote smart job-growth in the private sector. SoloPower’s considerable investment in Wilsonville has the potential to produce several hundred family-wage jobs that represents a tremendous opportunity for the city, Portland metro region and the state,” he adds.

“Over the past year, SoloPower has considered several alternative sites,” notes CEO Tim Harris. “Oregon is an exceptional location for our long-term growth,” he adds. “SoloPower greatly appreciates the partnerships it has formed with the State of Oregon, the Oregon Department of Energy, Clackamas County and the City of Wilsonville. Oregon’s business friendly environment, excellent support programs, and highly skilled work force made locating our new manufacturing facility in Oregon an easy decision.”

Tags: SoloPower CIGS module

Visit: www.solopower.com

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