Abound Solar Manufacturing plans to expand a solar panel manufacturing plant in Longmont, Colorado and open a new plant in Tipton, Indiana, financed with $400 million in loan guarantees through the U.S. federal government’s economic stimulus program as reported by Bloomberg on July 3, 2010. Abound Solar, headquartered in Colorado, produces thin-film cadmium telluride solar modules for large commercial solar installations. The company uses a semiconductor deposition process that contributes to lower cost, higher performance and greater efficiency, leading to solar electricity generation that is competitive with fossil fuels.
The company’s proprietary process for making thin-film photovoltaic solar panels is based on 15 years of research and development at the Colorado State University and support from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. According to Abound Solar, the cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology has some important advantages. It performs better than crystalline silicon in low-light conditions. And CdTe thin film is more efficient that silicon film in higher temperature conditions, resulting in greater power output per area.
In Abound Solar’s manufacturing process, a glass sheet enters the semiconductor chamber and in less than two hours a complete solar module comes out the other end of the line. Since the semiconductor layers are applied in just one piece of equipment, capital and operating costs per unit are reduced. The company claims that in less than five months the modules will have generated more energy than it took to manufacture them, which is almost five times faster than for crystalline silicon modules.
As reported onBusiness Wire, in April 2009 Abound Solar announced the opening of its first full-scale thin-film photovoltaic solar panel production plant in Longmont, Colorado. The plant has the capacity to produce 200 MW of solar panels annually. By simplifying the production process and expanding production capacity, the plant drives down the cost of solar energy. The company plans to reach a $1 per watt manufacturing cost in its Longmont plant according to an article in Green Tech Media.
In March 2010, Chevron commissioned a 190 kW photovoltaic installation using Abound Solar’s CdTe thin-film solar modules in Chevron’s Project Brightfield in Bakersfield, California. The installation is projected to generate more than 300 MWh per year and is one of the largest components of Chevron’s project to compare various emerging solar energy products.
In May 2010 Abound Solar announced that it will be supplying its solar modules for two solar energy installations in Germany with a combined capacity of 3.2 MW. And in June the company announced that it had signed an open-ended sales contract with EME Energy Management Eberlein GmbH and Solen Energy GmbH, German companies specializing in developing solar projects.
According to the Indy Star, Abound Solar will invest $500 million to convert the vacant Chrysler-Getrag Transmission plant in Tipton County, Indiana into a solar module plant. When completed, the Tipton plant will be the largest solar manufacturing facility in the U.S. and will add 850 jobs by 2013.
Abound Solar Opens First Production Facility – Business Wire
Eric Wesoff, “Abound Solar’s New CEO Ramping Up CdTe PV” – Green Tech Media
Feds, state announce plans for Tipton solar-panel plant – Indy Star
Nicholas Johnston, “Abengoa, Abound to Get $1.85 Billion in U.S. Solar-Project Loan Guarantees” – Bloomberg