Kish Rajan, director of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced the opening of Soitec’s $150 million North American headquarters and solar manufacturing facility in San Diego, CA.
The factory is equipped with a state-of-the-art automated production line for CPV modules meant for the U.S. renewable energy market, and will employ 450 people at full capacity. At the peak of construction, over 280 people were employed on the site.
“This project demonstrates the long term commitment of our state and local partners to ensure Soitec opened their first U.S. manufacturing facility in California,” said director Rajan. “Not only will Soitec employ 450 Californians, they are contributing to the state’s goal of increasing our renewable energy portfolio.”
GO-Biz staff has been meeting with Soitec since 2009 to locate the headquarters and manufacturing facility in San Diego. Soitec acquired the 176,000 sq ft manufacturing center on 14.8 acres of land in December 2011.
Soitec received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for power purchase agreements totaling more than 300 MWp in 2011. The CPUC this year approved 155 MW of electricity purchase between Soitec and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).
These projects, which are in various stages of development, will use Soitec’s fifth generation of CVP systems. Each 28 kW system will include 12 modules manufactured in San Diego. The first module was produced in October, and the first phase (140 MWp) of the production line is now operational. The factory has been designed to reach 280 MWp in capacity at full production.
“By producing high volumes of CPV modules at this facility, we are now able to help California meet its renewable energy goals and further support the US market,” said André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, chairman and CEO of Soitec. “We have also installed CPV systems in 14 countries on four continents. I am very pleased and honored that we can now offer the full benefits of this know-how in meeting US needs.”
The project also received support from the City of San Diego.
“I want to congratulate Soitec on the opening of its factory here in San Diego, and thank the many organizations and individuals who worked together to help bring the company to San Diego,” commented San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. “The city, CleanTECH San Diego, the Regional EDC, UC San Diego and SDG&E combined their resources to show Soitec that San Diego was as enticing as any other region in the desert Southwest, and as a result Soitec chose to bring 450 new jobs to San Diego and invest in the future of their company here because of our green credentials and our leadership in renewable energy.”
Bernin, France-based Soitec is a $1.2 billion semiconductor manufacturer with 1,200 employees working in plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany, and the United States.