California: Soitec Solar receives $25 million for CPV expansion

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The DOE has awarded the grant under its SUNPATH program. "The SUNPATH award will be finalized pending completion of the contract negotiations with the DOE," said the company in a statement released.

The funds will be used towards Soitec’s new $150 million CPV manufacturing facility in San Diego, California. With an annual Concentrix CPV module capacity of 200 MW(275 MWp), it is anticipated to be the largest facility of its kind when complete.

A total of 450 onsite and over 1,000 indirect jobs are expected to be created. Construction on the facility is said to be underway and the first phase is scheduled to be operational by the fourth quarter of this year.

In 2011, Soitec acquired a 176,000 square foot manufacturing facility in San Diego from Sony Electronics Inc., in order to support over 300 MW of its "well-advanced" projects in the region. At the time, it announced that M+W Group had been chosen to carry out upgrading work at the facility.

"This SUNPATH award will accelerate the production and output of Soitec’s first large-scale CPV module manufacturing facility in San Diego," said Clark Crawford vice president of Sales and Business Development USA.

The statement added, "High volume CPV module production at the San Diego facility will enable Soitec to deliver renewable energy and economic development by expanding its solar power plant customers throughout Southern California and the American Southwest and ultimately support export opportunities around the Pacific Rim."

The SUNPATH (Scaling Up Nascent PV At Home) program was launched last August by U.S. Energy Secretary, Steven Chu. At the time, he said $50 million would be available over two years to enable the U.S. to "reclaim its competitive edge in solar manufacturing."

Last week at Intersolar Europe, Soitec claimed it had completed Italy’s largest CPV power plant in Sicily. The company said the 1.17 MW power plant, "paves the way for many other CPV plants to be developed in the country.