Yesterday (Sept. 23) Mission Solar Energy, LLC. officially opened the doors on its new, 240,000 square-foot facility in San Antonio’s Brooks City-Base. The new facility is the result of a collaboration between CPS Energy, Mission Solar Energy and OCI Solar Power. At the factory Mission Solar Energy will make N-type solar cells and modules, which are generally more efficient than the more common P-type PV cells that many companies produce. As such they’ll be suitable for homes as well as giant solar farms.
The new facility is OCI Co.’s first foray into PV manufacturing though the Korean-based company has produced polysilicon for PV. The company is basing its global headquarters for PV manufacturing and installing solar through its subsidiary OCI Solar Power, which is headquartered in San Antonio.
The new manufacturing facility is slated to create more than 400 new jobs in the San Antonio region. Already it has hired 240 employees. In addition, the facility could expand production lines as demand for the solar panels ramp up.
Initially, at least, the solar panels produced at the plant will be installed at local solar farms, under CPS Energy's New Energy Economy Initiative. That program seeks to install 400 megawatts of solar in the region. When San Antonio developed the program it requested bids from solar manufacturers to locate a manufacturing facility there.
“Through CPS Energy's leadership, San Antonio is quickly becoming a hub for solar energy technology in the U.S.," said Alex Kim, President and CEO of Mission Solar Energy. "This is an ideal business climate for our growing company as we aim to launch our product on the world stage."
The 320 watt PV modules are currently being produced at a rate of 50 panels per hour. When it reaches full manufacturing capacity in 2015 it will produce 200 megawatts of modules annually.
"This panel manufacturing facility is the centerpiece of San Antonio's growing solar community," noted CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby. "With trackers, inverters and now panels made locally, San Antonio is poised to become a hotbed for solar manufacturing, development and installation—especially when you consider that these super-efficient panels have the flexibility to be used for utility-scale solar farms and for rooftop installations on homes and businesses. And it's pretty gratifying to think that in a few short years, these high-efficiency panels will be generating energy all over the world."
CPS Energy's New Energy Economy initiative has also brought Sun Action Trackers to the city. Sun Action plans to create 75 jobs in the region by the end of 2014.
Altogether the plans have already brought nearly 100 megawatts of solar power to the region. CPS Energy plans to have 200 megawatts of solar—about 10 precent of its generation capacity—online by July 2015. At the same time CPS Energy's Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan, plans to reduce demand for electricity by 771 megawatts in the next five years.Tweet