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SCHOTT Solar To Build Production Facility In New Mexico

January 17, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

SCHOTT AG of Mainz, Germany, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, SCHOTT Solar, Inc., will construct a new solar energy technology production facility in the Mesa del Sol region of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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. The investment in New Mexico by SCHOTT Solar will be on the order of $100 million. 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.

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 said to be at the forefront of progressive energy models in the U.S. with its feed-in tariff, a globally proven model.

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. 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 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 600MW 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° F. This heated fluid is then used to turn water into steam, which drives a turbine and generates electricity.