Sunsolar recently advised of its plans to construct a 30MW solar PV manufacturing plant in Oldbury with a US$7.85 million (£5 million) grant from the Government fund backed by Sandwell Council and the Regional Growth Fund. Sunsolar will provide an additional US$7.85 million for the factory’s development, with plans to open the facility’s doors at the end of October.
Sunsolar’s UK manufacturing site will produce both polycrystalline and monocrystalline PV modules, ranging in outputs from 200W to 250W. All modules will be manufactured and sold under the Sunsolar brand. Rob Grant, Sunsolar’s business manager, recently spoke with Solar Power Portal about the new UK site, stating, “We know there is a real buzz about the prospects renewable energy solutions have to offer this country. We are all very aware of the effect the credit crunch has had on the economy, as well as the great need for renewable energy sources across the world.”
“To be able to create a factory environment that will not only employ local suppliers to work with, but create new jobs and offer viable and inexpensive energy sources to the UK, is something we’re extremely excited about. As a company, we are working very hard to try and buck the negative trend within manufacturing and are keen to change the decline in the industry, particularly within the Midlands and are actively working towards bringing business back into the local economy,” Grant continued.
Initially, Sunsolar’s modules will be manufactured using cells purchased from Europe. However, company officials advised that it has placed an order for cell manufacturing machinery, which is anticipated to be installed by the beginning of next year. Thus, Sunsolar hopes that by 2013, the manufacturing of its whole module will come from the UK. At the start, the modules will be manufactured for the UK market, but Sunsolar looks to distributing its products worldwide as its business grows and tariffs come into place.
Sunsolar noted that it is not only looking forward to growing the Midland economy with new jobs, but also remains optimistic that the UK’s solar market will allow the company to further invest in UK-based facilities. “We hope the introduction of much needed jobs, use of local, UK based suppliers and the running of a self-sufficient factory will put the Midlands on the map for a significant improvement within the industry in the next 12 months.”
“The Sunsolar management team is already seeking a 10-acre site for a purpose-build PV manufacturing and R&D facility and we expect to outgrow our initial site facility within 18 months,” he concluded.