Solar Company to Install Roof-Top Systems in Chicago

A company in the United States will install almost 500,000 kilowatts of solar power systems on buildings in Chicago by the end of this year.

BEDFORD, Massachusetts, US, 2001-05-16 <SolarAccess.com> A company in the United States will install almost 500,000 kilowatts of solar power systems on buildings in Chicago by the end of this year. Spire Solar Chicago has installed $1 million worth of solar electric systems on public schools, museums and commercial buildings in the city during the past 12 months, as part of its three-year $8 million contract with the City of Chicago and the utility ComEd. It plans to install roof-top grid-connected systems on another 15 buildings, with a total generating capacity of 0.5 megawatt, during the balance of this year. “We expect to expand our full-service solar electric systems business in Chicago as well as use Chicago as a model for establishing other similar factories to produce solar electric modules and systems around the country,” says Roger Little, president and CEO of Spire Corporation. “Our Chicago operation is providing ComEd with supplemental electric power during the summer season at prices equal to or lower than the prevailing peak rates that they pay on-the-spot market. We believe that solar electric systems make economic sense in many parts of the country.” Little made the comments at a meeting of Spire in Bedford, where the PV equipment manufacturer reported revenue for the first quarter of this year was $3.2 million, compared with $4.5 million from the same period last year. “We are pleased with the progress in our solar energy business and expect sales to rise more rapidly over the remainder of the year,” he explains. “We continue to see strong demand for our PV module manufacturing equipment, reflecting industry growth estimated at greater than 25 percent again this year.” Last year, the company announced its intention to expand its solar energy division and to broaden the product line of its biomedical business. Orders for solar manufacturing equipment are strong, and overall corporate revenues were lower due to the phase-down of its optoelectronics research activities and lower licensing revenues in the biomedical operations. Last year, Spire’s solar business accounted for 46 percent of total sales of $12.9 million, while the biomedical division made up 33 and optoelectronics was 21 percent. This year, solar will account for more than two-thirds of total revenue, he predicts, and the company is producing solar systems in Chicago as well as solar manufacturing equipment in Bedford. Spire provides solar electric systems for distributed power generation and supplies manufacturing equipment for PV modules and turnkey production lines. Its equipment has been installed in 144 factories in 42 countries around the world, and the company claims that 90 percent of PV modules in use today were manufactured in part with Spire equipment. Spire Solar Chicago is a vertically integrated PV manufacturing plant established in cooperation with the City of Chicago, ComEd, and BP Solar.

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