The French-based firm that invested $150 million in a 176,000-square-foot plant here, “was recently awarded a $25 million … SUNPATH grant to support its project on 15 acres near Rancho Bernardo Road and I-15,” said areadevelopment.com.
SUNPATH stands for Scaling Up Nascent PV At Home and seeks to “increase America’s manufacturing competitiveness in the global solar market.”
Workers at the 16550 Via Esprillo plant will produce Soitec’s Concentrix concentrated photovoltaic technology solar modules for utility customers.
“We are very committed to the U.S. market and to the San Diego community and look forward to increasing our presence in the region,” said Andre-Jacques Auberton-Herve, CEO and chairman of Soitec.
“With the support of community leaders, we look forward to continuing our expansion in San Diego and providing systems that not only deliver performance and competitive energy prices, but that also spur innovation and jobs for the region.”
Soitec credited San Diego with having a strong market for solar energy, a supportive business community and a “progressive” utility—referring to San Diego Gas & Electric.
Clark Crawford, vice president of Sales and Business Development USA, was quoted as saying: “This SUNPATH award will accelerate the production and output of Soitec’s first large-scale CPV module manufacturing facility in San Diego.”
Gaetan Borgers, executive VP of Soitec Solar Energy Division, said: “The decision of the DOE to award Soitec with the largest share of the SUNPATH award provides a strong endorsement of our CPV technology. The SUNPATH award adds support to our view that CPV is best-suited for regions with extremely hot ambient temperatures and will pour the funds into equipment at its Rancho Bernando-area plant.”
Borgers said production is set to start before the end of the year on concentrated photovoltaic modules that use optical lenses to focus sunlight on tiny, highly efficient solar cells.