German Schott Solar Vies for the US Market

Schott Solar wants to get a huge share of the U.S. solar power market by making their presence felt in the country. They will unveil a facility on U.S. soil that is capable of producing photovoltaic and solar thermal components. This is good news for everyone.

The company is a unit of the German glass corporation, Schott AG. They said that their Albuquerque, New Mexico facility will be employing 300 workers and up to a maximum of 350 by the year’s end. This is a good example of how a green economy works for the community. As more manufacturing plants open up, more green jobs are created.

The facility will produce crystalline-silicon photovoltaic modules. These will be used to transform sunlight into electricity. They act as receivers for solar thermal plants, that convert the sun’s heat energy into electric energy. The plant will also produce the components needed to run a solar thermal power plant. In such a plant, the sun heats up a fluid that’s held in a long glass tube. Once heated, the fluid will be used to generate steam that will rotate a turbine.

The New Mexico plant will be able to produce between 65 and 85 megawatts of photovoltaic modules each year. But Schott Solar CEO Gerald Fine has stated that they will not be able to create up to 85 MW this year.  Next year, however, their production will be up to 100% and could probably reach 85 megawatts.

This is not the first U.S. plant this company will operate. Schott Solar operates a small manufacturing facility in Billerica, Massachusetts.  But the New Mexico is larger, both in size and output. This represents the company’s effort of expanding its U.S. solar business.

According to Fine, Schott Solar has also felt the effects of the worldwide recession, but that didn’t stop them from investing in this expansion. Most companies are still waiting, while the finds for renewable energy projects are being allocated from the Obama administration’s economic stimulus plan. Schott Solar expects the high demand for their products, once the funds are distributed.

Most of the end products from the New Mexico plant will be used for U.S. projects. Around a quarter of the photovoltaic modules from the plant will be exported overseas, but majority of the solar thermal parts will be for domestic use. Because of this new plant, the prices of these parts might go down in the future.

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