This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 17, 2002

Solar Cell Manufacturer Expands to Meet Growing Demand

ASE Americas, a manufacturer of solar cells and solar electric modules, celebrated a major expansion of its U.S. manufacturing facility last month. The company expanded its solar wafer production plant, located in Billerica, Massachusetts, from 12 megawatts per year in production capacity to 20 megawatts per year. Solar cell manufacturing plants measure their production capacity in terms of the combined peak capacity of all the solar cells produced in one year. The company has grown 40 percent per year for the last five years. See the ASE Americas press release.

Two hundred square feet of solar modules from ASE Americas were recently put to use in the nearby town of Wellesley. A 2-kilowatt system was installed on Wellesley High School in late March. See the Solar Boston Web site.

A number of large solar power systems are slated to be installed throughout the country in the near future, including three in California: a 31-kilowatt system on the Vallejo Police Station, a 59-kilowatt system on the Sacred Heart School in Saratoga, and a 68-kilowatt system on the Rubin Salazar Building at Sonoma State University. The California Energy Commission (CEC) is providing loans for the two school systems; see the two March 28th press releases on the CEC Web site.

For the Vallejo system, the California Public Utilities Commission will provide a rebate of nearly $140,000, allowing the system to pay for itself in about 16 years. See the City of Vallejo Web site.

But not all the large installations are planned for California: a 50-kilowatt system will be installed on the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center in Brooklyn, New York. Partially funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the system will use PowerLight Corporation solar panels, batteries from ZBB Energy Corporation, and a power conditioning system from SatCon Technology Corporation. See the SatCon press release.