On Earth Day, Solaria held its dedication of a new solar panel manufacturing plant in Fremont, positioning the company to be a leader in renewable energy and manufacturing jobs.
“California has been instrumental in implementing incentives that help foster the growth of solar and other green technologies. Solaria is an exemplar of clean tech job growth in California — the kind of growth that can be furthered through effective public-private partnerships,” said Lt. Governor Newsom.
Also in attendance were: Sierra Club's Executive Director Michael Burne, EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld, CPUC Commissioner Mark Ferron, CEC Commissioner Karen Douglas and Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D- Fremont).
With a new headquarters and a manufacturing plant in Fremont, Solaria plans to to produce 25 MW per year, an equivalent to supply electricity to about 25,000 homes during the day, according to CEO Dan Shugar.
In total, the company, which contracts with a plant in Hyderabad, India, expects to produce capacity for about 50 MW per year. With the Fremont plant running since January 2011, the company plans to expand production and double jobs, from about 100 to 200, in the next 12 months.
CEO Dan Shugar's former position was president of SunPower Systems, a subsidiary of SunPower Corp. Ten days earlier, in Milpitas, SunPower Corp. d.
Unlike SunPower's federal funds, Solaria's funding is mostly private. In the third quarter of 2010, Solaria secured $65 million in financing, according to the company.
With an early seed grant from the National Renewable Energy Lab, Solaria developed a new, high-efficiency solar panel that uses 50 percent less of the silicon PV cell material as a standard panel, yet produces the same power, according to the company.
This year, a loan from the CEC helped Solaria procure some of the high-tech automation equipment that enables the company to manufacture in California and remain competitive in the marketplace.
A grant from the CPUC assisted Solaria with a 110 KW solar panel system which powers half of the factory operations.
The city of Fremont, to attract clean tech companies, has an agreement with Solaria, to exempt them from business taxes to the city for the first five years.
For a map of clean tech firms in Fremont, click here.