SCHOTT AG of Mainz, Germany (SCHOTT) and Governor Bill Richardson (D - NM) today announced that SCHOTT Solar, Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of SCHOTT AG, will construct a new solar energy technology production facility in the Mesa del Sol region of Albuquerque, NM.
Initially, the production site will manufacture receivers for concentrated solar thermal power plants (CSP) and 64MW of photovoltaic (PV) modules. SCHOTT will construct a 200,000 square-foot facility, which is expected to begin production in 2009 and immediately create 350 jobs. The investment in New Mexico by SCHOTT Solar will be on the order of $100 million.
Anticipating the need to increase production of its solar power technologies as the market for renewable energy in the US grows, the new site is designed to support expansion of both its photovoltaic module and solar receiver lines. Long-term plans call for the building to expand to 800,000 square feet with 1,500 employees, representing a total investment of $500 million.
"According to both industry analysts and our projections, the market for solar energy will double over the next five years," said Dr. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of SCHOTT's Board of Management. "With this new plant, SCHOTT Solar, the State of New Mexico, the City of Albuquerque, and Bernalillo County are taking a lead in answering the growing demand for renewable energy in the United States.
The location of the new facility, Mesa del Sol, a developing mixed-use community south of Albuquerque, was selected as a result of local and state officials' commitment to attracting high-quality cleantech jobs to the region. Additionally, the location provides geographical proximity to the key solar PV module and CSP markets of the Southwestern United States, as well as close contact to one of the leading research centers for solar energy in the world, the Sandia National Laboratories.
"SCHOTT Solar's decision to create cleantech jobs in New Mexico demonstrates that our State is at the forefront of the clean energy revolution," said Governor Bill Richardson. "New Mexico is where leading clean energy firms like SCHOTT Solar want to be, thanks to our strong workforce, business-friendly environment, and our abundant renewable energy resources."
SCHOTT was attracted to New Mexico thanks in part to the State's commitment to the consumption of renewable energy. New Mexico currently has an aggressive 20% renewable portfolio standard, which mandates that by the year 2020, 20% of energy consumed in New Mexico must be generated by renewable energy sources, of which 4% must be from solar power. Additionally, New Mexico is at the forefront of progressive energy models in the U.S. with its feed-in tariff, a globally proven model.
SCHOTT's decision to locate the new facility in New Mexico is also due to the pro-business climate and the collaborative economic development programs provided by the State of New Mexico, City of Albuquerque, and Bernalillo County. The long-term economic impact of the site is expected to exceed $1 billion for the state of New Mexico.
Mesa del Sol sits on 12,900 acres of City of Albuquerque real estate. The community is positioned to become a leading sustainable-living community through energy conservation and generation, as well as a sustainable economy anchored by education and innovative industries.
SCHOTT's expansion of its U.S. PV production capabilities will further strengthen its position as one of the world's leading manufacturers of solar PV modules, which directly convert solar radiation into clean electricity. The new site will complement SCHOTT's existing Billerica, Massachusetts facility, which has a capacity of 15 MW, and produces the SCHOTT ASE-300 Watt PV module, one of the largest standard-sized modules available on the market today.
In 2007, SCHOTT's total PV production capacity worldwide was 130 MW. For 2010, SCHOTT plans on a global yearly production capacity of crystalline solar cells and modules of about 450 MW each and additional capacity of 100 MW in ASI thin film technology.
Recently, SCHOTT announced a new joint venture with WACKER Chemie, a globally positioned chemical company headquartered in Munich, Germany, to produce multicrystalline silicon ingots and wafers, the starting material for solar cells. This partnership provides SCHOTT Solar with a reliable supply of polysilicon, to support its planned growth. Solar wafers produced by the joint venture are planned to expand in stages, reaching one Gigawatt by 2012.
SCHOTT Solar PV modules produced at the new facility will utilize the proprietary ISO Texture technology, which creates a new surface structure via a wet-chemical process that produces solar cells with greater efficiency.
SCHOTT is also a leading manufacturer of solar thermal receivers used in parabolic trough solar thermal power plants, with one solar receiver production facility currently online in Mitterteich, Germany and another facility in Sevilla, Spain scheduled to go online in March, 2008. When the Albuquerque facility goes online, SCHOTT's worldwide receiver production capacity will reach more than 600 MW per year.
Concentrated solar power plants use parabolic mirrors to concentrate solar radiation onto solar receivers. This solar radiation increases the temperature of the heat transfer fluid flowing through the receivers to approximately 700 degrees F. This heated fluid is then used to turn water into steam, which drives a turbine and generates electricity.
"The recent opening of the 64 MW Nevada Solar One solar thermal power plant demonstrates that large-scale solar thermal power is a renewable energy technology whose time has come." said Mark Finocchario, President and CEO of SCHOTT Solar. "We expect that the reliability and cost-effectiveness of solar thermal parabolic trough power plants, along with the Southwestern United States' vast solar resources, will help make solar thermal power one of the United States' leading sources of renewable energy by 2025."