Soitec is converting a former electronics factory in San Diego, California to module production. The 176,000-square-foot site was recently purchased from electronics giant Sony for US$150 million and will manufacture 200MW of Soitec’s fifth generation CPV modules every year.
Production is scheduled to commence in Q4 2012, although before this can happen the facility is to be upgraded by M+W Group. Initial capacity will stand at 100MW, although this will soon be increased to the nameplate number, and Soitec has left the possibility open of ramping this up to 400MW in the future. The factory will employ 450.
Also situated within the San Diego factory will be Reflexite Soitec Optical Technology. This new company will operate its own 100-strong team, focusing on the manufacture of leading-edge silicone-on-glass Fresnel lens plates for Soitec's CPV modules.
“Having already announced our solar projects contracted with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), it makes perfect sense for us to launch our US manufacturing operations here,” said Soitec’s chairman and CEO, André Jacques Auberton-Hervé, chairman and CEO. “We want to help California meet its Renewable Portfolio Standard, which calls for a third of the state's utility-scale energy production to be generated by renewable sources by 2020.”
“Soitec's local presence is indeed a welcome boost for our regional economy and will support our company's commitment to help to ensure a sustainable solar future for our customers,” said Jessie Knight, Jr., SDG&E's chairman and CEO. “This year we have signed a half-dozen renewable energy contracts with solar developers that will use Soitec's highly efficient technology.”