Last Friday, Isofotón announced it had opened a new 50 MW photovoltaic module manufacturing facility in Ohio, the U.S. At this years Solar Power International, currently underway in Florida, the company revealed that it will ramp capacity up to 300 MW by 2015 at the latest. Chief executive, Ángel Luis Serrano further told pv magazine that US$35 million, including a $15 million loan from the state of Ohio, has been invested in the facility.
"The main factor for our investment in Ohio was not the subsidy weve got, but the cooperation with local suppliers in an existing solar cluster in Ohio with a total of 6,000 employees," said Serrano, adding that components like aluminum for framing, and solar glass will be sourced locally. Overall, he believes the U.S. solar market will grow "steadily" over the next few years.
"The investment in the U.S. is part of our strategy to expand internationally, since the European markets will decline," continued Serrano. He went on to say that as a next step, Isofotón will open a new, 300 MW photovoltaic module facility in Saudi Arabia in 2014. A joint venture has already been signed, underpinning the investment.
"There would be already plants to open manufacturing facilities in Brazil and China with a capacity of each 300 MW too," continued Serrano, thus significantly adding to the companys Spanish manufacturing operations, which currently represent an annual capacity of 230 MW.
Serrano sees the increased internationalization of Isofoton as crucial for the company and underlined the importance of the Latin American and Chinese markets. "We are already well positioned in China, since we run a local office there [for] 10 years," he said. "But we are in the stage of intensifying our cooperation with Chinese developers and utilities to improve our market access."
Similar steps would be taken in Latin America, he added. It is expected that the lions share of Isofotóns global project pipeline, totaling 16 GW, would be located in Latin America.
Responding to how he views Isofotóns unsuccessful Q-Cells bid, Serrano answered optimistically, "We are open for other acquisitions of companies, which match up our profile as a global company." He went on to say the reason why Isofotón has such a strong balance sheet is down to its own project business.
Edited by Becky Beetz.