Friday, December 12, 2008

Suniva Opens the South’s First Solar Cell Factory

(BUSINESS WIRE)--At a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning, Suniva Inc., a manufacturer of high value crystalline silicon solar cells, officially opened the first solar factory in the Southeastern US with the help of Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. Located in the Atlanta metro area, Suniva’s manufacturing facility will create over 100 high-paying, permanent green jobs by year-end 2009 and even more as it ramps to full production capacity in 2010.

Governor Perdue spoke at the event about the company’s importance to the state economy and Georgia’s presence on the national energy stage, “With patents developed in the laboratories of Georgia Tech, Suniva’s story is a prime example of how Georgia can lead the nation by teaming the strengths of public and private institutions,” said Governor Perdue. “Georgia made a strong commitment to the clean energy industry through its Energy Innovation Center and Bioenergy Corridor, and Suniva’s new facility makes us one of the first states in the nation manufacturing solar cell technology.”

Today’s announcement comes at a crossroads in the nation’s pursuit of new energy policies during tough economic times. President-elect Barack Obama and his transition team have discussed advancing the new energy economy as part of the US’s economic recovery plan. As a company whose major intellectual property was developed in a government-funded lab, Suniva is a stand out example of how government-backed initiatives can generate new US-based companies and facilitate the growth of renewable energy production and adoption.

Suniva’s founder and CTO, Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi, who is also the founder and director of Georgia Tech’s University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaic Research and Education (UCEP) funded directly through the Department of Energy (DOE), spoke at the event: “Though Suniva is barely a year old, in some ways today’s ceremony is twenty years in the making. My life’s work in advancing solar technologies has been made possible as a direct result of government funding and involvement with Georgia Tech. Suniva is the realization of all those years of hard work.”

In October — less than six months after announcing plans to build a manufacturing facility — Suniva completed installation of its first production line in this new facility and began shipping its proprietary ARTisun™ solar cells. Suniva’s solar cells are delivered to solar module manufacturers around the world under existing contracts worth over USD$1B.

“As the U.S. economy retools to become an international leader in the new energy economy, Suniva stands at the forefront, supplying a superior homegrown product to the international solar industry,” said John Baumstark, CEO of Suniva. “With our first factory officially open today, we are driving down the cost of solar and keeping clean energy technology and jobs in the US.”

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