Soitec building CPV manufacturing facility in CA

Soitec’s Concentrix concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology was selected by Tenaska Solar Ventures to produce 150MW for San Diego Gas & Electric. To support the project, Soitec will build a new factory in the San Diego region to manufacture its proprietary CPV modules.

March 14, 2011 — Soitec’s (Euronext Paris) Concentrix concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology was selected by Tenaska Solar Ventures to produce 150 megawatts (MW) for San Diego Gas & Electric. To support the project, Soitec will build a new factory in the San Diego, CA, region to manufacture its proprietary CPV modules.

The new CPV solar power plant, named Imperial Solar Energy Center (ISEC) West, will be constructed on a 1057-acre site in Southern California’s western Imperial County, and is expected to be completed in 2015. According to Dave Fiorelli, president of Tenaska’s Development Group, “The ISEC West solar power plant will demonstrate Concentrix CPV scalability, and commercial viability of this innovative technology for utility scale deployment.”

With an annual production capacity of 200 MW, the new CPV manufacturing facility will supply CPV modules to ISEC West and other utility-scale solar power projects throughout the desert southwest of the US. Also see: Chevron, Johnson Controls, and the US Southwest: Soitec Concentrix describes their CPV future 

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) signed a 25-year power-purchase agreement with a subsidiary of CSOLAR Development, LLC, a renewable energy company managed by Tenaska Solar Ventures, that will develop and operate the ISEC West solar power plant. The ground-mounted concentrated photovoltaic power plant will have a capacity of 150MW of solar-generated electricity. The ISEC West photovoltaics project will produce enough electricity to meet the annual electricity needs of approximately 55,000 California homes.

Concentrix CPV solar power systems suit locations with extremely hot ambient temperatures and dry weather conditions. Because of the very low temperature coefficient of its multijunction solar cells, a CPV system’s performance is much less affected by temperature than other photovoltaic technologies. Additionally, a CPV system’s 2-axis tracker produces a high and constant power production output throughout daylight hours. The concentrator optics and high-efficiency solar cells produce neither noise nor greenhouse gases. CPV technology requires no water for ongoing operations, a crucial consideration for the water-constrained Imperial Valley. The ISEC West project is also expected to create hundreds of jobs in Imperial County.

“The start of construction of the Sunrise Powerlink has triggered a wave of proposed new utility-scale solar and wind projects in the Imperial Valley region,” said James Avery, SDG&E’s senior vice president of power supply, adding that this contract will bring the Imperial Valley about 450 new jobs that will be created at the new manufacturing facility, in addition to the jobs at the solar power plant.

“Soitec is extremely pleased that Tenaska Solar Ventures chose our Concentrix CPV technology for the ISEC West solar power plant,” adds André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Soitec. “Our CPV systems are perfectly suited for the very high solar irradiance prevalent in the Imperial Valley. As a CPV leader, we are very committed to the U.S. market and look forward to increasing our presence in the San Diego community by contributing to the emerging renewable energy ecosystem in the region.”

The ISEC West project has applied for a U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee. Upon receipt of the guarantee and closing of its agreement with Tenaska, Soitec will implement capacity investments to construct its San Diego area factory and pursue options for related financing. The factory location is anticipated to be announced this summer, with completion expected within 18 months of construction start. Soitec’s delivery of the CPV systems to the ISEC West solar power plant will begin in early 2013 and finish in 2015. At full capacity, Soitec’s San Diego operations will generate up to 450 jobs in the local area.

Soitec (Euronext an international manufacturing corporation, produces materials for the semiconductor and solar industries. For more information, visit:

SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 845,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties of California, US.

Tenaska Solar Ventures, which manages CSOLAR Development, LLC, a renewable energy company, is dedicated to developing, owning and operating solar projects in North America. For more information about Tenaska, visit

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