Kyocera to Open Solar PV Fabrication Facility

At a time of tight supply in the solar energy market, Kycocera solar announced plans for a new module fabrication facility in Mexico that will eventually produce 35 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules per year.

San Diego, California – August 11, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The new facility in Tijuana, Mexico builds upon the company’s current module fabrication at their US headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is particularly suited to provide solar for the robust California market. In addition to opening this new facility, Kyocera will also establish a new regional office in San Diego for solar system engineering and marketing. Both the high inherent cost of solar PV and an increasingly tight end-user market have kept the price of solar higher than other traditional sources of energy. By locating their second North American module fabrication facility in a “maquiladora” facility, Kyocera hopes to drive solar PV prices down for their modules. A maquiladora uses competitively priced Mexican labor to assemble, process or perform manufacturing operations. Maquiladoras temporarily import component parts from the U.S. or other countries and then exports the product, either directly, or indirectly, by selling them to a another maquiladora or exporter. “The partnership between Kyocera’s global solar group and our Tijuana maquiladora operations will help to make clean, reliable solar energy systems more widely available for businesses and homeowners throughout the Americas,” said Rodney Lanthorne, director of Kyocera Corporation and president of Kyocera International. “This expansion reflects both the growing demand for solar energy systems and the success of our Mexican operations in providing high-quality, cost-effective manufacturing.” With the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, maquiladora plants have taken on increased importance. The maquiladoras have since increased their exports, total production value, and the size of their work force. According to the The International Trade Data System (ITDS), there are currently about 4,760 maquiladoras producing a wide array of products. Most maquiladoras are located around the Mexican border, however, it is possible for them to locate anywhere in Mexico. The Tijuana facility will produce PV modules ranging from 35 to 190 watts, with a planned production capacity of 35 MW per year. This facility will eventually produce all of the PV modules that Kyocera sells in the Americas. The company said however, they would continue integrating PV systems out of their facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. In view of rising public acceptance of solar energy in the United States, led by California, Kyocera said their decision to build PV modules at its Tijuana facility represents a natural evolution. Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar, indicated that the company’s goal is to better serve its local markets, such as California. “This new assembly operation will support the vision expressed by both California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy to increase regional deployment of solar energy resources,” Hill said. “Solar energy now offers the most affordable and effective means of preserving our environment, promoting energy independence and relieving strain on overburdened utility infrastructures.”

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