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news digest ♦ Solar


“First Solar is very pleased to bring together one of the world’s most significant solar projects with MidAmerican, one of the leading investors in renewable energy,” said Frank De Rosa, First Solar senior vice president of project and business development for North America. “This demonstrates solar is an important part of a renewable generation portfolio.”


The closing of MidAmerican’s acquisition of Topaz is contingent on the satisfaction of certain closing conditions specified in the acquisition agreement, including certain required actions with respect to the project’s permits and electrical interconnection arrangements. The project sale is not contingent on MidAmerican obtaining debt financing.


Pacific Gas and Electric Company will purchase the electricity from Topaz under a 25-year power purchase agreement, helping California to meet its mandate to generate 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.


Developed by First Solar, the Topaz project will incorporate the company’s advanced thin-film CdTe PV modules, which generate electricity with no emissions, waste or water use and have the smallest carbon footprint of any PV technology. Electricity generated from the Topaz project will displace approximately 377,000 metric tons of CO2 per year – the equivalent of taking approximately 73,000 cars off the road.


Concentrix solar panels the centre of attention in San Diego


Soitec will create 450 on-site jobs at its new manufacturing plant which is to manufacture gallium indium phosphide, gallium indium arsenide and germanium based CPV solar modules for the U.S. renewable energy market


184 www.compoundsemiconductor.net January / February 2012


Soitec has purchased a manufacturing facility in Rancho Bernardo, California, within San Diego City limits.


The French company will soon begin fitting the factory to produce its concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) modules for the U.S. renewable- energy market. The site, acquired from Sony Electronics, will enable a manufacturing capacity of 200 MW of Soitec’s fifth generation Concentrix CPV modules and with future expansion to double the capacity to 400 MW per year.


This major project for Soitec represents an investment of more than $150-million and will create 450 on-site jobs ─ including employees for the joint venture ─ in the City of San Diego and more than 1,000 indirect jobs at full capacity (200 MW).


Soitec’s investment includes the acquisition of a 176,000-square-foot manufacturing centre on 14.8 acres of land located within the campus of Sony Electronics’ U.S. headquarters. Soitec will begin extensive upgrade of the facilities in early 2012 and plans to have its first phase (100 MW) production line operational by the fourth quarter of 2012.


M+W U.S., Inc, a subsidiary of the M+W Group, a global engineering and construction partner for technology-based clients and renowned in constructing solar cell manufacturing facilities, has been selected as general contractor for the facility construction work.


Situated inside the San Diego factory will be the joint venture Reflexite Soitec Optical Technology LLC, announced last month. This new company will operate its own 100-person manufacturing operation within the facility developing and manufacturing leading-edge silicone-on-glass (SOG) Fresnel lens plates used in Soitec’s CPV modules.


“Bringing Soitec’s solar manufacturing business here has been an example of successful collaboration between the city, the nonprofit


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