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Solar cell development center rises in Silicon Valley

Posted: 27 Jun 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:photovoltaic development center? solar cell production? solar energy investment?

SVTC Technologies announced that its SVTC Solar business unit has launched the Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center. The center will provide the solar industry with infrastructure including development equipment, support and engineering services required to create and commercialize solar energy products.

Agreements have been signed with leading photovoltaic (PV) suppliers to provide key services through the Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center, and the center has accepted its first solar manufacturing customers. Corporate investment so far is estimated at $20 million to $30 million.

In addition, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency in the U.S. has invested in the new PV development center, which it sees as an important element in San Jose's Green Vision initiatives.

"SVTC Technologies has seen a surge in demand for a facility devoted exclusively to the solar industry, which is why we have established the Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center," said Kurt Laetz, SVTC Solar program manager. "We want to serve the solar manufacturers already here and attract new ones, helping to establish Silicon Valley as North America's premier environment for solar innovation. By tapping into the enormous talent, creative energy and financial support focused in this region, we intend to do for solar energy what Silicon Valley has done for other high-tech industries."

The Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center is located in an 87,000ft? facility in South San Jose, California in Silicon Valley, and part of a growing solar "cluster" in the Edenvale Redevelopment Project Area. The center will provide shared access to PV equipment and services, spanning the development and manufacture of solar cells and solar panels, as well as reliability, testing and certification services. As a result, the center will allow solar manufacturers to develop, test and certify their solar products and begin pilot production, while lowering customers' development costs and accelerating time to market and time to revenue.

Initial suppliers, customers
Equipment manufacturer Roth & Rau AG is providing a 5MW capacity turnkey silicon wafer solar cell manufacturing line for the center, ideally sized for pilot production. Based in Germany, Roth & Rau is a producer of processing and automation equipment for solar cell production. Roth & Rau will use the Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center as its North American demonstration showroom.

JA Solar, a China-based manufacturer of silicon wafer solar cells, has signed a letter of intent to locate its North American R&D operations in the Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center. JA Solar sells its products to solar module manufacturers who assemble and integrate the solar cells into modules and systems that convert sunlight into electricity.

Other customers, who are in startup mode and wish to remain confidential at this time, have also entered into agreements to use the center for their solar development efforts.

"Even before officially opening our doors for business, the Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center has signed up customers interested in accelerating their solar development processes and reaping the shared-access benefits of our center," Laetz said.

San Jose support
The city of San Jose has identified the Edenvale Redevelopment Project Area, where the Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center is located, as well suited for solar- and clean technology companies, as part of the city's broader Green Vision initiatives.

To help the center to acquire needed industrial and manufacturing capital equipment, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency is investing $100,000. The California Employment Training Panel Fund is also investing $100,000 to facilitate training for employees of the Silicon Valley Photovoltaic Development Center.

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