Friday, June 6, 2008

Georgia Welcomes Its First Solar Cell Manufacturing Facility

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that Suniva, Inc., will locate its first solar cell facility, and Georgia’s first solar manufacturing plant, in Norcross. Working with technological advances developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Atlanta-based company will manufacture high-efficiency solar cells. Suniva anticipates the new operation will create around 100 jobs within the first year.

“This new solar cell facility is a perfect example of the way Georgia’s investment in research and development pays dividends by producing innovative technologies that help companies grow,” said Governor Perdue. “Suniva’s production commitment and highly-qualified workforce will expand our clean energy success as the nation’s renewable energy corridor into the solar arena.”

Suniva’s new Gwinnett County facility will manufacture high-efficiency, low-cost solar cells. Production capacity of the first line will be 32 megawatts (MW). The company plans additional lines that will scale to more than 100 MW over the next two years, potentially adding more jobs to its workforce.

“As the solar industry looks to bring down costs and compete with conventional power, Suniva has built the team and the technology to execute on our vision of low-cost, high-efficiency solar energy,” said John Baumstark, CEO of Suniva. “We are pleased to be moving into our next phase of growth close to home, and we are interested in working with state and local government to create an ecosystem of clean energy companies in the Atlanta metro area.”

“We are proud that Suniva has chosen Gwinnett as a place to do business,” added Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister. “We are confident that our workforce will be a major factor in the company’s success with this cutting-edge, leading solar technology.”

Headquartered in Atlanta, Suniva develops, manufactures and markets high-value crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells for clean solar power generation. The company has an exclusive license to critical patents and patent-pending intellectual property developed by founder and CTO Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s University Center of Excellence in Photovoltaics, the nation’s premier silicon PV research center.

“Suniva is home-grown technology coming right out of our own Georgia Institute of Technology,” said Hans Gant, senior vice president of economic development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. “Our world-class universities and highly-skilled talent continue to solidify metro Atlanta’s reputation as a hotbed for high-tech companies.”

The Technology Association of Georgia recently recognized Suniva as one of the state’s Top 10 Innovative Technology Companies, based on the company’s technical innovation, likelihood of success and financial impact. The Georgia Department of Economic Development partnered in Suniva’s location with the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Costas Simoglou was the project manager for GDEcD.

Alternative energy development is a significant portion of Georgia’s state energy plan and one of the state’s industries targeted for strategic growth. The state is already known as The Bioenergy Corridor, the nation’s path to renewable energy, due to its strengths in academic research and development, public and private partnerships and manufacturing base. Georgia is home to manufacturing facilities for biodiesel, ethanol from agricultural crops, wood pellets and cellulosic ethanol. In addition, Georgia Tech Research Institute experts help advance alternative energy and storage technologies in a variety of applications, including fuel cells, solar energy, batteries, super capacitors and biofuels.

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