DOE awards $25mn for solar manufacturing plant in California

Soitec, a manufacturer of semiconductor materials for the energy and electronics industries, said that one of its U.S. subsidiaries was selected by the U.S. Department of  Energy to receive a $25 million Sunpath award to support a new solar manufacturing facility in San Diego, Calif.

Sunpath, which stands for Scaling Up Nascent PV At Home, seeks to increase America's manufacturing competitiveness in the global solar market. The award will be finalized pending completion of contract negotiations with the DOE.

Last December, Soitec acquired a 176,000-square-foot manufacturing center to support over 300 MW of well advanced projects throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. The new factory will enable a manufacturing capacity of 200 MW of Soitec's fifth generation of Concentrix concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) modules. This project represents an investment of more than $150 million and is expected to create 450 on-site jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs at full capacity. Construction is currently underway, and the first phase is scheduled to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2012.

High volume CPV module production at the San Diego facility will enable Soitec to deliver renewable energy and economic development by expanding its solar power plant customers throughout southern California and the American Southwest and ultimately support export opportunities around the Pacific Rim.

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