Spanish solar technology firm Isofoton said that in November it will inaugurate its first plant in the United States, a market it expects will lead the photovoltaic, or PV, industry in the coming years.
The solar module assembly plant in Napoleon, Ohio, will create 120 jobs in an initial phase - with a focus on hiring returning military veterans - and directly employ 330 people once it reaches full capacity in three years, Isofoton CEO Angel Luis Serrano told Efe.
The project, which will require an investment outlay of roughly $30 million, will have an initial capacity of 50 megawatts of PV products annually but plans are to expand that output to up to 300 MW per year, Serrano said.
A selective-emitter solar cell production line with a 100 MW capacity will come online at the plant in the 2013-2014 period.
"That plant is already practically finished. We've incorporated cutting-edge technology in automatic machinery and it will be a reality starting in November, when the first two modules will begin to be churned out for our American customers," Serrano said in a phone interview.
Isofoton is "intensely" looking to strengthen ties with universities and has a research and development and economic cooperation agreement in place in Ohio with the University of Toledo, Serrano said.
He noted that that institution has helped the firm establish itself near the city of Toledo and has a "solar technology research team that is sure to greatly assist in developing and improving the efficiency of these types of products."
"We have developed a sound plan for growth in the U.S., a country that will lead the photovoltaic industry over the next ten years," Serrano is quoted as saying on Isofoton's Web site.
"Isofoton North America's new Ohio manufacturing facility is an example of our commitment to the U.S. market, and benefits from the support of key partners, including Samsung, Mercedes AMG, Posco (and the University of Toledo)," he said.
The company also has a strong presence in Latin America in countries such as the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and El Salvador.
The company is working in that region on projects totaling more than 1,000 MW, the executive said.
"Latin America is going to play a very important role in Isofoton's strategy," Serrano said. EFE