Gas-guzzlers to greentech: Ford plant to be converted to solar, energy storage production park

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An idled Ford automotive factory near Detroit where T-Birds and Continentals were once built will be redeveloped into one of the largest renewable energy manufacturing parks in the United States. The site will include a micromorph-silicon thin-film solar panel factory equipped by Oerlikon–the company’s first such installation in the States. After nine months of discussions with the developers as well as local and state officials, Ford has signed an agreement in principle to sell Wixom assembly plant to energy storage system company Xtreme Power and Clairvoyant Energy, which will be Oerlikon’s turnkey partner.

Once state and federal incentives have been approved, Clairvoyant and Xtreme plan an initial investment of $725 million to redevelop the 320-acre site and its 4.7 million square feet of plant space. The park could create more than 4000 jobs on site and in the surrounding area, as well as support thousands of indirect jobs in an area reeling from cutbacks and layoffs in the automotive industry.

The two primary companies say they will use about half of the square footage to manufacture their products, and will seek additional green-energy manufacturing and support companies to lease the remaining space. The redevelopment work at the Wixom site is expected to start in early 2010, with manufacturing slated to begin in late 2011.

Clairvoyant Energy, which develops PV projects in the U.S. and Europe, plans to hire 300 employees for what would be the company’s first production facility, which will begin operations in late 2011 with a 90MW line using the Oerlikon gear. Depending on market conditions and other factors, the Santa Barbara, CA-based company could add another three production lines and 700 employees in subsequent years.

If the project is approved, Oerlikon says it will establish a regional sales and support center at the Wixom site.

 “Oerlikon Solar has the experience and capability we needed from a technology partner for this highly visible and ambitious project,” said David Hardee, CEO of Clairvoyant Energy. “Oerlikon Solar will provide us with a technology strategy to remain at the cutting edge at relatively low risk with the goal of producing a high-efficiency solar panel at the lowest cost in the market.”

(For more information and commentary on the Wixom plan and the growing trend of US-based PV manufacturing, check out the Chip Shots blog.)

22 September 2021
To commemorate the World Energy Storage Day(WESD) on 22 September, being recognized worldwide, Customized Energy Solutions (CES) and India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) is organising the 5th global conference and virtual expo, which will be held virtually on 22 September 2021. WESD is a global movement initiated by various apex trade bodies working to promote and adopt energy storage, e-mobility & green hydrogen technologies for a sustainable future. The forthcoming edition of WESD is expected to attract global participation with an intent to facilitate bi-lateral trade, market development and new research and innovation, which will invite 100+ countries, 100+ regulators & policy makers, 100+ International speakers,1000+ organisations, 100+ partners & exhibitors and 20,000+ global delegates.
28 September 2021
Solar Solutions International is the largest trade show for solar energy in Northwest Europe. Now the solar market has grown up, it's time for the next step. Solar Solutions International displays more than 500 innovations and over 100 practical seminars concerning the latest in energy storage, smart products, and an ever evolving array of solar panels. As an exclusively B2B trade show, Solar Solutions International offers both exhibitors and visitors the chance to network at the highest level. Duurzaam Verwarmd, the largest trade show for sustainable HVAC technology in the Benelux, is held simultaneously. This way your one visit gets you up to date with all of the developments in both sustainable energy and heating.
6 October 2021
Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry. It takes place as part of The smarter E Europe – the continent’s largest platform for the energy industry. Under the motto “Connecting solar business,” manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and project planners and developers from around the world meet in Munich every year to discuss the latest developments and trends, explore innovations firsthand and meet potential new customers.
6 October 2021
The future is bright for a new era of US solar and storage, and the 8th annual Solar & Storage Finance Summit will provide opportunities to discuss solutions to the industry’s challenges and provide a networking platform designed to bring together the top minds in the industry to do business. With a mix of high-level, informative presentations and panels, a stellar cast of speakers and audience members with deal-making capacity, the 2021 edition of the event will be a sell-out success.
18 October 2021
Intersolar South America, South America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry, takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil on October 18–20, 2021, and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. At the accompanying Intersolar South America Conference, renowned experts shed light on hot topics in the solar industry.
19 October 2021
This year’s EV World Congress will hold a special role, not only as the first live EverythingEV event in over a year – a chance to renew your connections and re-engage with the EV sector face to face – but also as a chance to share insight and inspiration as world starts to look towards move on post COVID towards hitting ambitious decarbonisation goals in 2030 and beyond. As ever, we will be bringing world leading organisations, cities, and technology providers to the UK to inspire EV innovators, and delve into the challenges facing the sector as the UK looks to revolutionise road transport.

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