Published on September 18th, 2012 | by Andrew1
Isofoton’s 1st US Solar PV Plant to Start Production in November
More encouraging news on the US solar manufacturing front broke last week as Spain’s Isofoton announced it anticipates commencing production at its first US solar module assembly plant in Napolean, Ohio in November. Emerging concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) manufacturer Semprius expects to open its inaugural manufacturing facility in Henderson, North Carolina this month.
With the capacity to produce an initial 50 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) panels, and plans to expand that to 300-MW, Isofoton management is looking to US demand for solar energy to fuel industry growth over the next 10 years.
Investing some $30 million to build the PV module assembly plant in Ohio, management expects to hire an initial 120 people and focus on hiring returning military veterans, CEO Angel Serrano told Spanish news agency Efe. That would increase to as many as 330 when the plant reaches full capacity.
Isofoton’s new Ohio plant “is an example of our commitment to the U.S. market, and benefits from the support of key partners, including Samsung, Mercedes AMG, Posco, as well as our highly productive R&D and economic development partnership with the University of Toledo, Ohio,” Serrano elaborated.
“Our goal is to position Isofoton North America as a strong alternative source of clean and affordable energy to meet the growing energy independence demands of the dynamic U.S. market.”
Cutting Edge Solar PV Manufacturing in Ohio
Building strong ties with local communities, universities, and research institutions is an integral part of management’s business strategy. It already has an R&D and economic cooperation agreement with the University of Toledo and is keen to expand on such relationships.
For the moment, the focus is on completing and initiating production at its PV module assembly plant in Napolean. “That plant is already practically finished,” Serrano elaborated. “We’ve incorporated cutting-edge technology in automatic machinery and it will be a reality starting in November, when the first two modules will begin to be churned out for our American customers.”
Included is the installation of a selective-emitter solar cell production line with a 100-MW capacity that’s slated to come online in 2013-2014. Solar PV manufacturers are turning to selective-emitter solar cell production lines in a quest to boost PV energy conversion efficiencies.
The technological process involves selective deposition of layers of phosphorous of greater thickness directly under PV cells’ silver contact grids and less in interstitial spaces, thereby improving the ability of PV cells to convert blue/ultraviolet light into electricity.
Its first solar PV plant in the US adds to Isofoton’s already strong solar PV manufacturing presence in Latin America, where it operates in countries such as Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Mexico. Serrano noted that the company is involved in solar energy projects in Latin America that combined have a total capacity of more than 1 gigawatt.
Photo Credit: Isofoton