San Diego Business Journal

Soitec Receives $25M Federal Award

By Julie Gallant Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The U.S. Department of Energy selected Soitec Solar, a local subsidiary of semiconductor materials manufacturer Soitec, for a $25 million Sunpath award to support its new North American solar manufacturing facility in Rancho Bernardo.

Sunpath, which stands for Scaling Up Nascent PV at Home, seeks to increase America’s manufacturing competitiveness in the global solar market.

After acquiring a 176,000-square-foot manufacturing center on 14.8 acres in December, Soitec is moving forward with a factory that will enable a manufacturing capacity of 200 megawatts of Soitec’s fifth-generation of Concentrix concentrator photovoltaic, or CPV, modules. The $150 million project is expected to create 450 on-site jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs at full capacity. The first phase is scheduled to be operational by the fourth quarter.

“This Sunpath award will accelerate the production and output of Soitec’s first large-scale CPV module manufacturing facility in San Diego,” said Clark Crawford, Soitec’s U.S. vice president of sales and business development.

CPV technology converts sunlight directly into “clean” electricity via concentrator optics and high-efficiency solar cells offering the best design for use in sunny regions, according to the company.

“The Sunpath award adds support to our view that CPV is best suited for regions with extremely hot ambient temperatures and dry weather conditions like the American Southwest,” said Gaetan Borgers, executive vice president of Soitec Solar Energy Division.

Soitec has manufacturing plants and research and development centers in France, Singapore, Germany and the United States.

— Julie Gallant