French Solar Panel Maker Opens Factory at San Diego

Solar Panels

French solar panel manufacturer Soitec opened its $150 million factories in San Diego on Friday, 16th December 2011, hoping to meet Californian demands of sourcing one-third of its energy from renewable energy by 2020.

Gov. Jerry Brown joined Mayor Jerry Sanders and other local officials to announce the good news of Soitec’s plans to jump into the U.S. renewable energy market.

According to Soitec Chairman and CEO Andre Jacques Auberton-Herve, the French firm plans to generate 450 on-site jobs at its 176,000 square-foot San Diego plant which will begin operation in the fourth quarter 2012. An additional 1,000 indirect jobs will be created when the plant starts functioning at its full capacity.

Along with creating hundreds of lucrative jobs, Soitec will build on San Diego’s reputation as one of the world’s leading clean-technology states,  Mayor Jerry Sanders said.

The law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this year requires California to get one-third of its energy supplies from renewable sources by 2020 and Brown is sure the state will break the record. In 2009, the state was already receiving 13.9 % of its energy from renewable sources.

Soitec’s plant located in the desert will produce solar panels for 200 megawatts of electricity each year, enough to light 75,000 homes. San Diego Gas & Electric Co., which supplies electricity to Southern California homes, has agreed to buy 305 megawatts from plants built with Soitec panels. Presently, SDG& E receives 20 % of its energy from renewable sources, increasing to 23 %, once it starts getting power from Soitec.

The Soitec plant is built without any funding from the U.S. government or financial support. 198 million dollars were raised by the company in a stock offered in July.

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