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Business Oregon and MEMC Announce Plans to Expand Portland Solar Materials Manufacturing Plant at Solar Power International 2010Salem-News.com
The company estimates that the Oregon plant will ramp up from about 60 megawatts (MW) in annual production capacity at the time of acquisition, to approximately 300 MW of capacity in 2011
(LOS ANGELES Calif.) - The Oregon Business Development Department ("Business Oregon") and officials from MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE: WFR), a global leader in the manufacture and sale of wafers and related products to the semiconductor and solar industries, today announced the expansion of MEMC's Portland, Oregon solar manufacturing facility. The facility was obtained through MEMC's recent acquisition of Solaicx.
MEMC's Portland facility has developed proprietary continuous crystal growth manufacturing technology which yields low-cost, high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon wafers for the photovoltaic solar industry. This technology allows for very high-volume crystal growth compared to the silicon ingots produced in the traditional precision semiconductor manufacturing process.
The company estimates that the Oregon plant will ramp up from about 60 megawatts (MW) in annual production capacity at the time of acquisition, to approximately 300 MW of capacity in 2011. The Oregon plant is expected to employ approximately 130 full time employees after the capacity ramp.
"This is great news for Oregon and for our growing solar industry," said Tim McCabe, the director of Business Oregon, who attended the Solar Power International show along with the MEMC officials. "Market leaders such as MEMC are a critical piece of our plans to grow Oregon's solar industry. Oregon is committed to shortening the supply chain, driving costs down and growing demand for solar power."
MEMC officials recognize the key role of Oregon's early stage investment in Solaicx that supported the technology development and workforce growth during its start up phase. "We look forward to working with Oregon in the coming months as we become part of their expanding solar manufacturing community," said Ken Hannah, President of MEMC Solar Materials.
MEMC's Oregon facility qualified for the State of Oregon's solar manufacturing and business growth incentives in 2007. Business Oregon worked to recruit the original Solaicx facility to Portland touting the fast-growing solar manufacturing cluster, now the largest in North America, emerging in the state. Oregon has one of the most effective solar manufacturing incentive packages in the U.S. and is in the top ten in overall renewable investments. Support from state government played a critical role in MEMC's decision to expand its operation in Oregon.
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