Former Ford Plant Could Become Thin-film Manufacturing Facility

A group of renewable energy companies has joined forces with Ford and the State of Michigan on a plan to convert the vacant 320-acre Wixom Ford Motor Co. assembly plant outside Detroit into a renewable energy manufacturing park.

The Wixom facility will be refurbished and upgraded with new manufacturing lines for solar panels and advanced energy storage. The first part of the facility that is expected to be developed is a solar thin-film manufacturing plant.

Oerlikon Solar USA Inc. has been selected by Clairvoyant Energy, as its preferred equipment partner for the thin-film solar panel manufacturing line.

Clairvoyant Energy plans to hire 300 employees for their production facility, which will use Oerlikon Solar equipment, starting in late 2011 and add another 700 later depending on demand. If the project is approved, Oerlikon Solar USA will establish a regional sales and support center at the Wixom site.

“Oerlikon Solar has the experience and capability we needed from a technology partner for this highly visible and ambitious project,” said David Hardee, CEO of Clairvoyant Energy. “Oerlikon Solar will provide us with a technology strategy to remain at the cutting edge at relatively low risk with the goal of producing a high efficiency solar panel at the lowest cost in the market.”

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