SoloPower, a San Jose, California-based manufacturer of flexible thin film solar cells and modules, announced today that it has received a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Programs Office for a $197 million loan guarantee. The funds will support construction of a facility that, when completed and at full capacity, is expected to produce approximately 400MW of thin film Photovoltaic (PV) modules annually.
“This announcement is the latest confirmation that when it comes to energy policy, Oregon is on the right side of history,” said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. “The project in Wilsonville will hire hundreds of highly skilled, highly paid Oregonians to manufacture the latest in renewable energy technology. Oregon is already an epicenter for renewable energy projects. A loan guarantee to help companies such as SoloPower get important projects off the ground is the right approach that will keep Oregon where it belongs – at the forefront of technology. I look forward to working with the folks at SoloPower in putting Oregonians to work creating the products that represent the future of renewable energy.”
SoloPower CEO Tim Harris added, “We appreciate and commend the DOE’s emphasis on supporting innovative, clean-tech companies as a way to further the goal of energy independence while stimulating employment and helping secure our nation’s manufacturing base in this important emerging industry.” Mr. Harris stated: “This backing allows us to rapidly ramp up our production and to promote the spread of clean, distributed solar power to the rooftops and on the ground, while providing hundreds of quality manufacturing jobs using some of the most advanced technology in the world.”
SoloPower announced earlier this year that it had come to an agreement to construct its first large-scale high volume manufacturing plant in Wilsonville, Oregon. Retrofit of the existing building is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2011. The factory is expected to provide direct employment to approximately 500 people once it is running at full capacity. About 270 construction jobs will be created to build the plant, and additional jobs are also likely to be generated in the local supply chain.
SoloPower’s family of lightweight flexible modules are certified to both UL and IEC standards with up to 260 Wp/panel, and are being sold in small volumes to leading customers in five countries.