Schott Solar to Build in NM
ROSEVILLE, Calif., Jan. 16, 2008 -- Schott Solar Inc., a subsidiary of international technology company Schott AG of Mainz, Germany, announced this week it will expand its US photovoltaic (PV) capabilities by building a $100 million solar energy technology production facility in Albuquerque, N.M.
Initially, the facility will manufacture receivers for concentrated solar thermal power plants (CSP) and 64 MW of PV modules. Solar PV modules directly convert solar radiation into clean electricity.
A solar thermal power plant. (Images courtesy Schott North America Inc.)
Schott will invest $100 million to construct the 200,000-sq-ft facility in Albuquerque's Mesa del Sol region and is expected to break ground next month. The plant is scheduled to begin production in 2009 with 350 employees.
“Schott Solar is not only investing in New Mexico, but in the energy independence of the United States. We are proud that with the new facility, the company will become one of the nation’s leading providers of solar power generating products," said Mark Finocchario, president and CEO of Schott Solar.
The company said that it anticipates there will be a need to increase production at the plant as the market for renewable energy in the US grows, and the new site is designed to support expansion of both its PV module and solar receiver lines. Schott Solar's long-term investment is expected to grow to $500 million as the building expands to 800,000 sq ft and the workforce to 1500.
“According to both industry analysts and our projections, the market for solar energy will double over the next five years,” said Udo Ungeheuer, PhD, chairman of Schott’s board of management.
Wafers to be used in a PV module are on the production line.
Schott said the new facility will be located close to key solar PV module and CSP markets in the Southwest, as well as to one of the leading research centers for solar energy in the world, the Sandia National Laboratories. The new site will also complement Schott's existing Billerica, Mass., facility, which has a capacity of 15 MW and produces one of the largest standard-sized PV modules available.
Schott Solar said PV modules produced at the new facility will use proprietary technology that creates a new surface structure via a wet-chemical process, producing solar cells with greater efficiency.
In 2007, Schott's total PV production capacity worldwide was 130 MW. For 2010, Schott said it plans on a global yearly production capacity of crystalline solar cells and modules of about 450 MW each and additional capacity of 100 MW in ASI thin-film technology.
Schott recently announced a new joint venture with Wacker Chemie, a chemical company in Munich, Germany, to produce multicrystalline silicon ingots and wafers, the starting material for solar cells. This partnership provides Schott Solar with a reliable supply of polysilicon, to support its planned growth. Solar wafers produced by the joint venture are planned to expand in stages, reaching one gigawatt by 2012.
Schott also manufactures solar thermal receivers used in parabolic trough solar thermal power plants, with one solar receiver production facility currently online in Mitterteich, Germany, and another in Sevilla, Spain, scheduled to go online in March 2008. When the Albuquerque facility goes online, Schott said its worldwide receiver production capacity will reach more than 600 MW per year.
A photovoltaic module.
Concentrated solar power plants use parabolic mirrors to concentrate solar radiation onto solar receivers. This solar radiation increases the temperature of the heat transfer fluid flowing through the receivers to approximately 700 °F. This heated fluid is then used to turn water into steam, which drives a turbine and generates electricity.
“The recent opening of the 64-MW Nevada Solar One solar thermal power plant demonstrates that large-scale solar thermal power is a renewable energy technology whose time has come.” said Finocchario. “We expect that the reliability and cost-effectiveness of solar thermal parabolic trough power plants, along with the Southwestern United States’ vast solar resources, will help make solar thermal power one of the United States’ leading sources of renewable energy by 2025.”
For more information, visit: www.us.schott.com/photovoltaic/english/index.html
- The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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