A whole heap of important people showed up for the ground breaking at SCHOTT solars new Albuquerque New Mexico solar plant. Executives from SCHOTT AG of Mainz, Germany, Governor Bill Richardson and other local dignitaries were there to see some real green collar jobs getting started. The site, located in the Mesa del Sol region of Albuquerque, NM, will produce both photovoltaic (PV) modules and receivers for concentrated solar thermal power plants (CSP). Production is expected to begin as early as spring 2009.
Initially, the company will construct a 200,000 square-foot facility, which will employ 350 people. SCHOTT Solar will invest approximately $100 million to start production in New Mexico.
Anticipating the need to increase production of its solar power technologies as the market for renewable energy in the US grows, 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 employment reaching 1,500 people, representing a total investment of $500 million.
“Today is an extremely proud day for SCHOTT,” said Dr. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of SCHOTT’s Board of Management. “With the groundbreaking in New Mexico, SCHOTT is further demonstrating the company’s position as a global leader in solar technology and our ongoing commitment to developing the North American market through strategic investment.”
The governor wasted no time in showing off his green cred. “Recently I announced that SCHOTT Solar was coming to New Mexico and would build a new $500 million-dollar facility to Mesa Del Sol,” said Governor Richardson. “Just weeks later – I am pleased to say – SCHOTT Solar has officially broken ground on their new solar manufacturing facility. SCHOTT is one of the largest, most prestigious solar companies in the world and I am honored to welcome them to New Mexico.” It is not often that a governor can brag to his constituents that he has produced some real honest to goodness green collar jobs (not just another ethanol plant).
SCHOTT Solar has already begun the hiring process for the Albuquerque facility with staffing of human resources positions. In the next phase, the company will begin hiring experienced engineers and managers. Starting this summer, CSP receiver and PV manufacturing line positions will begin to be filled.
Job vacancies will be posted on the company’s website and advertised in the local media. The company is working with the New Mexico and Albuquerque Economic Development Departments to develop a training and recruitment program.
“SCHOTT Solar is committed to creating stable jobs with competitive pay and benefits for Albuquerque,” said Mark Finocchario, President and CEO of SCHOTT Solar, Inc. “Our mission is to become an employer of choice within the region.”
At the groundbreaking, SCHOTT Solar unveiled the ambitious timeline for the opening of the facility, which sits on 80 acres of land. Currently, the site is being graded and prepared for construction. Immediately following the completion of the permitting and approval process, the physical structure will start to be erected. The building is scheduled to be completed at the end of
the summer. From there, installation of the manufacturing equipment will take place and the interior will be prepped.
In March 2009, the first receiver, a critical component for concentrated solar power plants is expected to be available for sale. The receiver contains an outer “envelope” glass tube which has an anti-reflective coating. Inside, in an evacuated, sealed environment, is a steel tube covered by an absorptive coating. It is inside this steel tube that a heat transfer fluid (HTF) flows when heated by the sun. This fluid, when heated by the sun, is then used to turn water into steam, which drives a turbine, generating electricity. Tada!
In April 2009, the first photovoltaic panel manufactured for sale is scheduled to roll off the production line. The 220-watt single-pane PV panel will be similar to products produced at the company’s European manufacturing facilities. The Albuquerque site will have an initial annual production capacity of 64MW of PV panels. Additional PV manufacturing lines will be added to the facility to meet market demand.
Initially, the 190,000 square-foot facility will have 175,000 square feet allocated to production and 15,000 square feet of office space. The receiver line will occupy nearly double the space of the PV line (115,000 / 60,000 respectively). Future growth at the facility is planned by SCHOTT Solar, which will bring total employment up to 1,500, and SCHOTT’s total investment to approximately $500M.