CIGS thin-film company SoloPower chooses Oregon as
site for first volume production facility
Feb 06, 2011 - Tom Cheyney- PV-tech.org
SoloPower becomes the fourth CIGS thin-film photovoltaics
manufacturer since the beginning of the year to
announce it has selected a site for its volume
production facility. The San Jose-based company
has chosen Wilsonville, OR, where it plans to build
a 75MW plant and create 170 new jobs as part of
its initial phase of expansion. SoloPower made
its decision in part because of a package of local
and state incentives that includes at least $40
million in potential loan and tax credit monies.
Once the flexible CIGS module facility is completed,
it will have four production lines with a cumulative
nameplate capacity of 300MW and eventually will employ
around 500 people, the company says. The planned
total investment will be approximately $340 million.
The incentives offered to SoloPower include a $20
million loan from the Oregon Department of Energy,
which was recommended for approval by the Small Scale
Energy Loan Program advisory committee. The company
has also applied for a Business Energy Tax Credit
of another $20 million from the state.
The CIGS firm is also in continuing discussions
with the U.S. Department of Energy to obtain a loan
guarantee for the construction of additional manufacturing
The company’s corporate headquarters and R&D
operations will remain in San Jose.
Sustainable Business Oregon reports that the company
is in negotiations to lease a former Nike distribution
center, where it would invest $56 million to build
the first 75MW line in the facility. CEO Tim Harris
is quoted as saying that about $10 million of that
money could go toward retrofitting the site into
a production plant.
Peter Kesser, the company’s VP of sales and
marketing, told the publication that the longest
lead time process equipment has already been ordered,
with a goal of starting installation of the tools
in the spring and getting the line into production
by the end of 2011.
SoloPower completed another round of fund raising
at the end of 2010, as documents filed with the Securities
and Exchange Commission show the company bringing
in $51.575 million in new monies.
During the past year, the company achieved several
important milestones, including UL and IEC certification
of its flexible CIGS modules, improved conversion
efficiencies, expansion of its product line, and
shipments to customers.
SoloPower joins three fellow California-based CIGS
companies that have recently announced their intentions
to locate production facilities outside the Golden
State: W Solar (Wisconsin), Stion (Mississippi),
and AQT Solar (South Carolina).
Another thin-film solar firm, Solexant, has also
chosen Oregon as the location for its initial manufacturing
site. The state is already home to the sprawling
SolarWorld campus in Hillsboro, which is the largest
crystalline-silicon PV production complex in the