SCHOTT Solar Breaks Ground on Manufacturing Facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Executives from SCHOTT AG of Mainz, Germany (SCHOTT), Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) and local dignitaries ceremonially broke ground today for the company's new manufacturing facility for SCHOTT Solar, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of SCHOTT. The site, located in the Mesa del Sol region of Albuquerque, NM, will produce both photovoltaic (PV) modules and receivers for concentrated solar thermal power plants (CSP). Production is expected to begin as early as spring 2009.
Initially, the company will construct a 200,000 square-foot facility, which will employ 350 people. SCHOTT Solar will invest approximately $100 million to start production in New Mexico.
Anticipating the need to increase production of its solar power technologies as the market for renewable energy in the US grows, the new site is designed to support expansion of both its photovoltaic module and solar receiver lines. Long term plans call for the building to expand to 800,000 square feet with employment reaching 1,500 people, representing a total investment of $500 million.
"Today is an extremely proud day for SCHOTT," said Dr. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of SCHOTT's Board of Management. "With the groundbreaking in New Mexico, SCHOTT is further demonstrating the company's position as a global leader in solar technology and our ongoing commitment to developing the North American market through strategic investment."
"Recently I announced that SCHOTT Solar was coming to New Mexico and would build a new $500 million-dollar facility to Mesa Del Sol," said Governor Richardson. "Just weeks later - I am pleased to say - SCHOTT Solar has officially broken ground on their new solar manufacturing facility. SCHOTT is one of the largest, most prestigious solar companies in the world and I am honored to welcome them to New Mexico."
A Timeline for Ambitious Growth
At the groundbreaking, SCHOTT Solar
unveiled the ambitious timeline for the opening of the facility, which sits on 80 acres of land. Currently, the site is being graded and prepared for construction. Immediately following the completion of the permitting and approval process, the physical structure will start to be erected. The building is scheduled to be completed at the end of the summer. From there, installation of the manufacturing equipment will take place and the interior will be prepped.
In March 2009, the first receiver, a critical component for concentrated solar power plants is expected to be available for sale. The PTR-70 receivers represent the latest in technological advancements for the surging CSP industry. The receiver contains an outer "envelope" glass tube which has an anti-reflective coating. Inside, in an evacuated, sealed environment, is a steel tube covered by an absorptive coating. It is inside this steel tube that a heat transfer fluid (HTF) flows when heated by the sun. This fluid, when heated by the sun, is then used to turn water into steam, which drives a turbine, generating electricity.
In April 2009, the first photovoltaic panel manufactured for sale is scheduled to roll off the production line. The 220-watt single-pane PV panel will be similar to products produced at the company's European manufacturing facilities. The Albuquerque site will have an initial annual production capacity of 64MW of PV panels. Additional PV manufacturing lines will be added to the facility to meet market demand.
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