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Arizona a Growing Hot Spot for Solar, Renewable Energy Companies

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, July 6 2011 under: Suntech, First Solar, Solar PV Panels, Solar Manufacturing

Blessed with lots of sunshine, Arizona is a great place to install solar panels. Thanks to a pro-business climate and its close proximity to big markets, like California, the state is turning out to be a great place to make solar panels, too.

Consider that the two world's two biggest solar panel manufacturers have Arizona-based operations: thin-film maker First Solar has long called Tempe home, while Suntech, a China-based company, opened shop in the Phoenix area last October. All told, Arizona is home to more than 100 "significant solar energy businesses," according to PV Magazine.

The uptick in business has been welcomed. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, many governors took up job creation as a top priority. Perhaps more than in any other state, Arizona officials have enacted policies intended to encourage renewable energy companies to set up instate operations.

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Solar Panel Plant to be Built at Former GM Facility in Arizona

It's a sign of the times: the site of a former General Motors vehicle testing facility will soon house a manufacturing plant dedicated to making clean-energy-producing solar panels.

First Solar, the Tempe, Arizona-based maker of advanced thin-film solar modules, today announced it will build a its new U.S. manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona. The company will invest about $300 million in the facility and, in so doing, create some 600 jobs.

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Ohio Glass Maker Set to Install Solar Panels at Brownfield

Pilkington North America Inc. -- a Toledo, Ohio-based manufacturer and marketer of safety glass for both buildings and cars -- is set to install a 250-kilowatt (kW) ground-mounted solar energy system atop a former brownfield in Toledo.

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Solar Sector Leader Named to U.S. Manufacturing Council

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Thursday, August 12 2010 under: Solar Industry News, Commerce Department, First Solar, NASDAQ:FSLR

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke recently appointed the new chair of the U.S. Manufacturing Council, a body that advices the Commerce Department on issues relating to American manufacturers. With his selection, Locke sent a clear message that the U.S. renewable energy industry -- specifically the solar energy sector -- is and will continue to be a considerable engine to U.S. economic growth.

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Sales for Suntech, First Solar High Despite German Subsidy Cuts

Posted by Connie Zheng In Monday, June 7 2010 under: international solar, china, Suntech, First Solar, Germany

Well ahead of the German solar subsidy cuts slated for July 1, German demand for solar modules from powerhouses Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd. and First Solar has been high—high enough to have prompted the former to add 1 gigawatt in production capacity in Shanghai over the following three years, and high enough to have induced the latter to announce its inability to meet demand this year.

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First Solar San Luis Obispo Plant Targets 2014 Completion

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Wednesday, April 14 2010 under: thin film, Solar Industry News, First Solar, California Solar, Utility Solar

In August 2008, Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) inked a large scale power purchase agreement (PPA) with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E).

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Solar Scorecard Stacks Up Companies’ Green Credentials

Posted by Connie Zheng In Thursday, March 25 2010 under: Solar Industry News, First Solar, Solar rankings, Solar PV Panels

Just how green are the solar panels gracing your rooftop? For most home- and business-owners, it’s still difficult to tell—but, if rankings are your thing, the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition’s 2010 Solar Company Survey and Scorecard may be a good starting point. Released earlier this week, the San Jose-based organization’s report surveyed 25 of the world’s biggest solar photovoltaic panel and/or cell manufacturers and scored them based on their environmental practices and policies, which included “Extended Producer Responsibility and Takeback” (product recycling), green jobs, chemical use and disclosure. German companies topped the list, with Q-Cells, Calyxo and SolarWorld in the lead, and American powerhouse First Solar trailing not too far behind.

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Watch Out, First Solar: GE To Produce Thin-Film Solar Cells

Posted by Connie Zheng In Friday, March 19 2010 under: thin film, Solar Industry News, GE solar, First Solar

Industry cost leader First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) soon may face increased competition in the thin-film solar market in the form of GE, which is making the switch from traditional silicon to cadmium-telluride—the same material that First Solar uses—in its production of solar panels. Apparently following the same logic as the Arizona-based solar giant, GE’s research arm released on Thursday news about its activities in cadmium telluride, which it has deemed the most potentially cost-effective material to use in manufacturing solar photovoltaic cells.

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US Solar Faces Brain-Drain From China

For some time now, we've seen American solar panel manufacturers struggle to keep costs low enough to compete with their Chinese and Japanese counterparts. Last year, Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar (NASDAQ: ESLR) had to move solar panel assembly to China (though retaining its manufacturing facility not far from Boston) in order to cut back on costs and please investors. But there has still been a certain sense of complacency about our R&D leadership: after all, industry mover and shaker First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) started out in Tempe, Arizona, and high tech solar products under development at research institutions like MIT get a lot of press.

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First Solar Embraces Solar Development

In order to pull out of the solar energy development business, Edison Mission Group (EMG) had to sell of a string of projects already under way. Thin-film industry darling First Solar (FSLR), the integrator with whom EMG had been working, bought the whole set for an undisclosed number. Stocks have suffered a bit in the wake of the surprise decision. EMG is leaving solar development for wind projects, not for financial reasons, and with more than 10 GW of solar assets under the group's belt, they'll still be very much on the scene.

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