SolarWorld opens largest silicon PV wafer, cell factory in North America

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SolarWorld cut the ribbon Friday on what is being called the largest silicon solar-cell
production facility in North America. The 480,000 square-foot factory, located in Hillsboro, OR, is part of the German
company’s $500 million investment in advanced
photovoltaics technology in the U.S.

The fab will feature an integrated manufacturing process, producing both solar wafers and cells, and is expected to have an initial annual capacity of 100 MW. The plant, a former Komatsu semiconductor manufacturing site bought by SolarWorld in 2007, will grow to an eventual total capacity of 500 MW and create 1000 new jobs over the next three years, the company said. Cells processed at the Hillsboro site will be shipped to SolarWorld’s recently expanded 100-MW module-assembly line in Camarillo, CA.

SolarWorld is also spending an additional 350 million Euro to double the capacity to 1 GW at its main solar manufacturing factory in Freiburg, Germany. A solar-module production plant, part of a joint venture in South Korea, is also expected to begin production by year’s end, the company said.

— Tom Cheyney

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