Governor Doyle Announces W Solar Group Will Relocate to Wisconsin
Manufacturer will move corporate HQ and R & D facilities to Wisconsin, create 620 jobs
MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced that W Solar Group, Inc. will receive up to $28 million in Enterprise Zone tax credits from the Department of Commerce (Commerce) to establish a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin, and locate its corporate headquarters and research and development facilities in Dane County.
“I am really happy to announce the state will provide $28 million in Enterprise Zone tax credits to help W Solar establish a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin and create more than 600 jobs,” Governor Doyle said. “W Solar choosing to locate its manufacturing facility in Wisconsin is a testament to the hard work we’ve done over the past eight years to build a strong sector of our economy around clean energy and high end manufacturing. This investment will create new business opportunities and jobs at suppliers throughout the region.”
The company expects to create about 620 jobs between its headquarters, R&D and manufacturing facilities. The project represents a capital investment of over $300 million. Governor Doyle has used the powerful Enterprise Zones credits to help retain and create jobs at Quad Graphics, Bucyrus, Mercury Marine, Republic Airways, ULINE, Marinette Marine, and Oshkosh Corporation.
The U.S. and international solar markets are expected to grow rapidly in the years ahead. Wisconsin is a national leader in solar installations. Among the companies Commerce has assisted are Cardinal Glass, 5NPlus, PDM Solar, ZBB Technologies, and Helios.
“W Solar Group was attracted to Wisconsin early in our search for a project location,” Chris Hamrin, President and Chief Executive Officer W Solar Group, Inc. said. “We are impressed with the high quality workforce, extensive supply chain, and the commitment to producing world-class products. Making Wisconsin our home is the right decision, and W Solar’s goal is to be a great addition to the Wisconsin economy. Wisconsin’s role as a leading manufacturing state with hard-working people also contributed to our decision to make the Badger State the place to grow our company.”
This project builds on Governor Doyle’s efforts to position Wisconsin for future growth. Since taking office in 2003, Governor Doyle has worked aggressively to create and retain jobs in Wisconsin. Governor Doyle’s budget last year created some of the strongest economic development tools in the nation to help businesses create jobs and get people back to work. Wisconsin now has powerful new tax credits to help manufacturers create and retain jobs, new tools to help investors create start-ups, and new incentives to spur research and development.
Chris Hamrin praised Wisconsin as an ideal location for the company’s expansion plan. The privately-held company is currently located in Chatsworth, California.
W Solar Group is currently considering locations for its headquarters and research and development facility as well as its manufacturing operation. The company expects to open its headquarters and research and development facilities in the first half of 2011 and begin manufacturing in 2012. Plans call for expanding production and the number of jobs in 2013 and 2014, with the facility reaching full capacity in 2015.
As W Solar Group expands and begins manufacturing, the number of full-time jobs will grow, and reaching full capacity in 2015 will create more than 620 jobs. The company has made a commitment to purchase materials and services from Wisconsin suppliers in an effort to create or retain additional jobs.
W Solar Group has a highly efficient technology for producing thin film solar panels on a large scale and at a lower cost than its competitors. The projected global market for solar panels will increase more than tenfold over the next decade and the company anticipates about half of its production will be exported to overseas markets.
California Approves Innovative Program to Spur Mid-Sized Solar, Renewable Development
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted unanimously to approve a new program designed to drive small to mid-sized renewable energy development. Called a “Renewable Auction Mechanism” (RAM), this next-generation feed-in tariff program will require investor-owned California utilities to purchase electricity from solar and other renewable energy systems up to 20 MW in size. Solar advocates and industry representatives applauded the CPUC for its innovative approach to helping California meet its renewable goals and build a strong new energy economy.
“This program is a thoughtful design that helps keep the state on track with its renewable energy obligations and goals but in a cost-effective and pragmatic way. We are very excited about the significant opportunity it provides solar developers”
“This is an elegant program that will drive significant new development in small to mid-sized renewables in California. The approach builds on best-practices to deliver cost-effective solar on-line quickly, in a way that delivers sustained value to ratepayers. In combination with California’s 80,000 behind-the-meter solar systems and the Renewable Portfolio Standard that is driving large-scale projects, this program pioneers a new approach to wholesale distributed generation. At scale, solar is more cost effective than the fossil fuel alternatives. All it takes is the right market mechanism to turn the opportunity into reality, and we thank the Commission and Commission staff for their vision,” said Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar, a non-profit organization working to make solar a mainstream American energy resource.
“The Solar Alliance applauds the CPUC for creating and approving this RAM Program, which will open up a significant market potential in California for simplified renewable energy procurement,” said Sara Birmingham of the Solar Alliance, a trade association of solar manufacturers and developers.
“This program is a great step forward in facilitating the expansion of distributed solar power generation,” said Marc Van Gerven, CEO of Q-Cells North America, a global leader in developing solar power systems. “We are committed to partnering with utilities and the CPUC in continuing to grow solar adoption and California’s leadership in the renewable energy market.”
“This program is a thoughtful design that helps keep the state on track with its renewable energy obligations and goals but in a cost-effective and pragmatic way. We are very excited about the significant opportunity it provides solar developers,” said Polly Shaw, Director of External Relations for Suntech America, one of the world’s largest solar energy companies.
“The passage of the Renewable Auction Mechanism by the CPUC today marks the beginning of a new era for the solar industry in the United States and will allow us to reduce air pollution, increase energy independence and create new green jobs much more quickly. We are very grateful to the CPUC staff and commissioners for their hard work to develop this program over the last two years,” said David Hochschild, Vice President at Solaria, a solar manufacturer headquartered in California.
The Commission vote establishes a 1-gigawatt (GW) pilot program for power from eligible mid-sized renewable energy systems. The program requires California’s three largest investor owned utilities to hold biannual competitive auctions into which renewable developers can bid. Utilities must award contracts starting with the lowest cost viable project and moving up in price until the MW requirement is reached for that round. The program will use standard terms and conditions to lower transactional costs and provide the contractual transparency needed for effective financing. To ensure project viability and realistic pricing, the program requires development security and relatively short project development. Utilities must file implementation plans in the next 60 days, and the program is expected to be operational this spring.
Suniva Receives $15 Million Working Capital Loan Guarantee from Export-Import Bank of the United States
Export-Import Bank Loan Guarantee Will Enhance Suniva’s Export Opportunities in International Markets
NORCROSS, Ga.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Suniva, Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells and modules, today announced that it has received a $15 million working capital loan guarantee from the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The guarantee allows for Suniva to secure additional working capital as needed and further expand its export business.
“Support from the Export-Import Bank has proven invaluable and we look forward to continuing our work together.”
Suniva is one of a select number of companies to utilize all three of the Export-Import Bank’s products, including project financing, receivables insurance and a working capital loan guarantee. The Export-Import Bank will guarantee 90 percent of a $15M line of credit provided by Comerica Bank.
“The availability of credit is important when rapidly expanding a capital-intensive business such as solar manufacturing. The Export-Import Bank guarantee for this line of credit will help us further expand our international business and increase exports to Europe, Asia and other locations throughout the world,” said James Modak, chief financial officer for Suniva. “Support from the Export-Import Bank has proven invaluable and we look forward to continuing our work together.”
“The Export-Import Bank is pleased to help exporters like Suniva who are creating real jobs here in the U.S. and we expect to continue expanding our relationship with the company in the future,” said Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. “We are committed to helping boost U.S. renewable energy exports and strengthen U.S. export competitiveness.”
“Suniva is an industry leader in making solar power more efficient and cost effective. Because of Comerica’s commitment to clean tech, we understand the importance of expanding the use of solar technology and we are pleased to partner with Suniva management and the Export-Import Bank to increase U.S. exports around the world,” said Chris Lloyd, Senior Vice President at Comerica Bank.
Earlier this year, Suniva was named the “Renewable Energy Exporter of the Year” award by the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. Suniva exports approximately 90 percent of its product each year to Asia and Europe. The company’s high-efficiency solar cells and modules have been used in projects in Europe, Asia and Australia, including some of the largest grid-connected solar fields in India and the largest roof-top solar array in Asia, located on the Thyagaraj stadium roof in New Delhi. Suniva also was one of 3 US companies to participate in the U.S.–India Innovation Roundtable led by President Obama in Mumbai on November 6th to kick off the President’s official visit to India.
SOUTH AFRICA – Investors keen on solar park
Upington: Date: 29 Oct 2010 – More than 400 local and foreign investors, who attended the two-day Solar Park conference organised by the Department of Energy, went back to their boardrooms with a feeling of enthusiasm on Friday, as prospects for the project appeared more positive. The investors from countries such as France, India, South Korea and United States arrived in Upington in the Northern Cape on Thursday for a conference aimed at laying the foundation for a 5 000 MW solar park in the area.
South Africa needs an investment of more than R150 billion to get the project off the ground and government is hoping to get buy in from the private sector to meet the costs. Such a solar park could be a first for the world and could demonstrate South Africa’s ability to convert to a green economy as recommended by the United Nations. A task team would now be established, consisting of both investors and government officials, to further advise Energy Minister Dipuo Peters on the establishment of the solar park.
Peters, who opened the conference on Thursday, described the initiative as a milestone for South Africa, which has over the centuries largely depended on coal for its energy. An initial 1 000 MW of the solar park could be up and running by 2012. Government has agreed to look at certain policy issues as the development of an Integrated Energy Plan and rapid facilitation of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs). While it was clear that a lot of groundwork still needed to be done, officials remained optimistic on Thursday, saying the closing discussions of the conference revealed a keen interest in the project that looks set to create more that 15 000 jobs.
“I think we have achieved what we came here to do, which was to try to get investors to be exposed to the plans we have as a country to diversify our energy mix and reduce our carbon emissions… a lot of positive feedback came out of it,” the department’s Acting Director-General Ompie Aphane said. BuaNews understands that one investor had already pledged a guarantee of more than R1 billion towards the project, while an Indian businessman promised a start-up funding for training purposes. Aphane confirmed that an investment pledge was made to “the tune of a billion” by a European investor but could not give more details.
Mike Roussos, CEO of Solar Power Generation, said the conference had given investors an idea of what to expect as the feasibility study gets to its final stages. “It was a great conference… there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered, but what the conference has done was to show that there are processes in place to resolve some of the challenges that may still be there,” he said. “What is important for us is that government is serious and they have started a feasibility study on the matter. What we need to do now is to go back and assess our positions,” added Roussos. Rajesh Singh, from Solar Options, also felt that further dialogue was needed to engage investors on certain tariff issues and the details of the interpretation of the country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). “The feeling is that while we appreciate this platform, more still needs to be clarified on the issue of tariffs, whether Eskom will be the sole owner of the network, what is the preliminary roll out plan and the cost involved. We don’t have that information [yet].” – BuaNews
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House – Weekly Address Listen
Over the past twenty months, we’ve been fighting not just to create more jobs today, but to rebuild our economy on a stronger foundation. Our future as a nation depends on making sure that the jobs and industries of the 21st century take root here in America. And there is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now – and growth in the coming years – than clean energy.
For decades, we’ve talked about the importance of ending our dependence on foreign oil and pursuing new kinds of energy, like wind and solar power. But for just as long, progress had been prevented at every turn by the special interests and their allies in Washington.
So, year after year, our dependence on foreign oil grew. Families have been held hostage to spikes in gas prices. Good manufacturing jobs have gone overseas. And we’ve seen companies produce new energy technologies and high-skilled jobs not in America, but in countries like China, India and Germany.
It was essential – for our economy, our security, and our planet – that we finally tackle this challenge. That is why, since we took office, my administration has made an historic commitment to promote clean energy technology. This will mean hundreds of thousands of new American jobs by 2012. Jobs for contractors to install energy-saving windows and insulation. Jobs for factory workers to build high-tech vehicle batteries, electric cars, and hybrid trucks. Jobs for engineers and construction crews to create wind farms and solar plants that are going to double the renewable energy we can generate in this country. These are jobs building the future.
For example, I want share with you one new development, made possible by the clean energy incentives we have launched. This month, in the Mojave Desert, a company called BrightSource plans to break ground on a revolutionary new type of solar power plant. It’s going to put about a thousand people to work building a state-of-the-art facility. And when it’s complete, it will turn sunlight into the energy that will power up to 140,000 homes – the largest such plant in the world. Not in China. Not in India. But in California.
With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy. And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, home-grown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.
Now there are some in Washington who want to shut them down. In fact, in the Pledge they recently released, the Republican leadership is promising to scrap all the incentives for clean energy projects, including those currently underway – even with all the jobs and potential that they hold.
This doesn’t make sense for our economy. It doesn’t make sense for Americans who are looking for jobs. And it doesn’t make sense for our future. To go backwards and scrap these plans means handing the competitive edge to China and other nations. It means that we’ll grow even more dependent on foreign oil. And, at a time of economic hardship, it means forgoing jobs we desperately need. In fact, shutting down just this one project would cost about a thousand jobs.
That’s what’s at stake in this debate. We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive. We know the choice that’s right for America. We need to do what we’ve always done – put our ingenuity and can do spirit to work to fight for a brighter future. Thanks.
New Energy Technologies aims to turn windows into solar panels
A Maryland-based firm has developed a technology that it says can turn windows into solar panels. New Energy Technologies says that its new SolarWindow product can be directly sprayed on to windows at room temperature to turn them into solar energy generators.
Currently in the prototype stage, it has been demonstrated powering LED lights and the blades of a small model helicopter from the energy generated, say executives.
The product adheres to glass while keeping it transparent, according to the company, which says that it can generate electrical current and voltage from artificial light in addition to sunlight. This makes it suitable for generating electricity from the fluorescent lights found in offices, New Energy Technologies said in a statement.
“Engineers modeling a 40-story building, similar to Tampas landmark 100 North Tampa, estimate annual cost-savings of $40,000 to $70,000 when installing New Energy’s SolarWindow to exposed window facades,” said the firm in a statement on Monday. “In contrast, mounting todays popular poly-crystalline silicon modules on the rooftop produces only $20,000 in energy savings per year. ”
Following a public demonstration of the technology, the company plans to publish comprehensive performance data based on independent, third-party measurement and engineering tests.
John A Conklin, president and chief executive at the company, said the product was only a few steps away from a full commercial launch. “Im eager to aggressively advance this technology towards commercial prototyping in preparation for eventual full-scale production to capitalise on our market of more than five million commercial buildings and 80 million detached homes in America,” he said.
New Energy Technologies is developing a reputation for outlandish renewable energy projects. It is also developing a product called MotionPower, which would harvest the kinetic energy from vehicles as they passed over it.