New Mexico, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] Less than nine months after beginning production at its new Albuquerque facility, Schott Solar this week announced the expansion of its photovoltaic (PV) module production line. PV production will double, from two shifts to four shifts on a rotating schedule, effectively creating a 24 hour-a-day, 7 days-a-week production capacity at Schott Solar’s flagship facility.
In order to meet this increased production schedule, Schott Solar has been hiring up to 10 new employees per week since the first of November. The majority of the new positions have been PV Production Technicians. In addition to more than doubling the ranks of Production Technicians, new Materials Handlers and Tech Services/Facilities Technicians positions have also been filled.
These 60 new employees will bring the PV production lines to full capacity of 160 employees by the end of December.
“Creating jobs in today’s economic environment is a tremendous achievement for any company,” said Dr. Gerald Fine, CEO & President, Schott Solar, Inc. “To be able to almost double our PV workforce in such a short time is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the people who have been with us from the start. They put in the work that allows us to grow.”
Earlier this week, The Obama Administration hosted a green jobs summit aimed at finding ways the federal government could help create green jobs in the U.S. as part of the continuing recovery. The White House is now calling for an expansion of the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, which was authorized earlier this year as part of the stimulus package.
The White House stated that the original US$2.3 billion program was over-subscribed, and that an additional $5 billion could go to applicants turned down when the money ran out.
Manufacturers were all in support of the White House plan, but more support came from the United Steel Workers Union (USW), which has expressed concern in recent weeks about energy manufacturing jobs leaving the country.
“In recent weeks, the USW has raised substantial concerns about projects — such as the Texas Wind Energy Project — that exposed the need to rapidly increase domestic manufacturing capacity to ensure that the U.S. is a leader in the clean and green economy of the future,” said Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers (USW). “Expanding alternative and renewable power generation must be coupled with the expansion of the capacity to produce the power generation equipment itself. President Obama’s commitment to this $5 billion will do exactly that.”
There is no indication when this extension might make it to the floor of Congress, if at all. But it may conceivably be attached to the climate bill currently stalled in the Senate after the holiday recess.