Suntech Opens First U.S. Manufacturing Site

Suntech Power (NYSE: STP) opened its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Goodyear, Arizona.

The new module production facility has an initial 30 megawatts (MW) of annual capacity and will employ more than 75 operators, engineers and professionals by the end of 2010.

Suntech said it is already making plans to expand the facility to 50MW early next year and expects to employ more than 150 people by the end of 2011.

Suntech plans to expand the facility, in concert with the growing U.S.
solar industry, to reach up to 120MW of annual production capacity. In
addition, the local operation will bolster solar research collaboration
between Suntech and Arizona State University.

The 117,000 square foot facility features manufacturing and testing equipment and will initially focus on producing Suntech’s 280W Vd-series modules, primarily used for commercial and utility-scale electricity generation. All modules produced at the facility will be compliant for procurement in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects.

"Our new U.S. manufacturing plant will provide a local platform to meet the burgeoning demand for solar products in the U.S. and Canadian markets, which we expect to exceed 1GW for the first time in 2010," said Steven Chan, President of Suntech America. "In fact, we are growing so fast that in the third quarter of 2010 alone we shipped more than our total 2009 shipments to the North American market."

Suntech said it selected Goodyear based on a combination of factors, including costs, logistics, and statewide renewable energy policies, as well as a supportive local business climate.

"Solar jobs follow solar installations, and more than 60% of all industry jobs are created in sales, finance, and installation, in jobs that cannot be exported. On average, the solar industry employs about 15 to 30 people for every MW of installed solar capacity–6 to 8 times more than the traditional energy industry," noted Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s founder, chairman, and CEO, at the grand opening. "The governments that advance clear and consistent policies to diversify with clean energy will create thousands of green jobs while achieving energy security."

"The initial capacity of our Goodyear facility is three times larger than our first module production facility built eight years ago, in 2002; and the cost of generating solar energy has fallen by more than 50% since then," added Dr. Zhengrong Shi. "Just imagine what we will accomplish over the next eight years as we work together and continue to drive solar to cost competitiveness in the United States, and everywhere under the sun."

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