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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
Soitec Opens its Solar Manufacturing Facility in San Diego to Locally Produce CPV Modules for the U.S. Renewable Energy Market
Thanks to this new factory, Soitec will become one of the top three manufacturers of solar modules in the USA

SAN DIEGO, December 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Soitec (Euronext), a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, announced today the grand opening of its North American solar manufacturing facility in San Diego. Less than one year after the facility was acquired by Soitec, the factory is equipped with a state-of-the-art automated production line and is operational. The concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) modules produced in San Diego will support hundreds of MWp of contracts for utility-scale projects in California. In 2011, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved 300 MWp of PPAs which are expected to use Soitec's Concentrix technology.

Soitec acquired the 176,000-square-foot manufacturing center on 14.8 acres of land in December 2011. This major project for Soitec represents an investment of more than $150 million. The company has completed on schedule an extensive upgrade of the facilities to install fully-automated manufacturing equipment and processes. The first module was produced in October, and the first phase (140 MWp) of the production line is now operational, as initially planned. The factory has been designed to reach 280 MWp in capacity at full production.

M+W U.S., Inc, a subsidiary of the M+W Group - a leading global engineering and construction partner for technology-based clients and renowned in constructing solar cell manufacturing facilities, was the general contractor for the facility construction work. At the peak of construction, over 280 people were employed on the site.

The factory should create 450 jobs at full capacity, including employees for the joint venture Reflexite Soitec Optical Technology, LLC. This new company operates a manufacturing operation within the facility developing and manufacturing leading-edge silicone-on-glass (SOG) Fresnel lens plates used in Soitec's CPV modules.

"I want to congratulate Soitec on the opening of its factory here in San Diego, and thank the many organizations and individuals who worked together to help bring the company to San Diego. The city, CleanTECH San Diego, the Regional EDC, UC San Diego and SDG&E combined their resources to show Soitec that San Diego was as enticing as any other region in the desert Southwest, and as a result Soitec chose to bring 450 new jobs to San Diego and invest in the future of their company here because of our green credentials and our leadership in renewable energy," commented San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.  

With this manufacturing plant, Soitec will become one of the top three manufacturers of solar modules in the USA. This will help Soitec provide cost-effective renewable energy systems and put the company in an ideal position to support its customers with a dedicated local team.

"By producing high volumes of CPV modules at this facility, we are now able to help California meet its renewable energy goals and further support the US market. Soitec already manages six factories around the world, and this gives us strong expertise in industrial processes, manufacturing and quality systems. We have also installed CPV systems in 14 countries on four continents. I am very pleased and honored that we can now offer the full benefits of this know-how in meeting US needs," said André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, chairman and CEO of Soitec.

Focus on the CPV technology developed by Soitec

Soitec's CPV technology uses triple-junction cells mounted on a glass plate. Fresnel lenses (manufactured using silicone on glass) concentrate sunlight 500 times before it reaches these cells, which convert it into electricity. A metal frame holds two glass plates to form highly robust, durable and resilient modules. By combining several modules on biaxial trackers (based on a proprietary algorithm automatically optimizing their position based on the path of the sun), Soitec maximizes energy generation throughout the day.

With yields of 30% from its CPV modules, Soitec achieves at least twice the performance of conventional photovoltaic technologies. Combined with low installation and maintenance costs, this leading efficiency is making CPV technology the most cost-efficient solution for high-volume power generation in regions with high direct normal irradiation (DNI).

About Soitec

Soitec is an international manufacturing company, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials at the frontier of the most exciting energy and electronic challenges. Soitec's products include substrates for microelectronics (most notably SOI: Silicon-on-Insulator) and concentrator photovoltaic systems (CPV). The company's core technologies are Smart Cut™, Smart Stacking™ and Concentrix™, as well as expertise in epitaxy. Applications include consumer and mobile electronics, microelectronics-driven IT, telecommunications, automotive electronics, lighting products and large scale solar power plants. Soitec has manufacturing plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany, and the United States. For more information, visit:

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