DOE to support solar panel manufacturing plant

Washington D.C., February 21, 2011 — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the offer of a conditional commitment to SoloPower, Inc. for a $197 million loan guarantee to support the retrofit of an existing building and installation of additional equipment to operate a thin-film solar panel manufacturing facility in Wilsonville, Oregon.

When completed and at full capacity, the facility is expected to produce over 400 MW of flexible photovoltaic (PV) panels annually. According to SoloPower estimates, the project will create about 500 permanent jobs and 270 construction jobs.

"Investments like these are going to help America become a world leader again in clean energy manufacturing," said Secretary Chu. "This Recovery Act funded project is going to create jobs in Oregon while generating a clean source of renewable energy."

The SoloPower facility will produce, higher efficiency PV panels for roof-top applications that, when deployed, will provide significant greenhouse gas reductions.

SoloPower's innovative manufacturing process deposits copper, indium, gallium and selenide (CIGS) onto rolls of flexible stainless steel materials and transforms them into flexible modules. This approach improves module size and weight, ease of installation, and reduces mounting hardware.

The DOE, through the Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling nearly $18 billion to support 19 clean energy projects. Together, these projects will produce over 41 million MWh or enough to power 3.5 million homes.

Additional DOE-supported projects include two of the world's largest solar thermal projects, two geothermal projects, the world's largest wind farm and the nation's first new nuclear power plant in three decades.

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