The 200,000 ft2 solar facility represents an initial investment of over US$100 million in the Albuquerque region. It was created in anticipation of the need to increase production of solar energy products as the market for renewable energy in the USA grows.
Long term plans for the facility designed to support SCHOTT Solar’s PV module and solar thermal receiver lines, call for the buildings to expand to 800,000 ft2 representing a total investment of approximately US$500m.
In the first phase, the Albuquerque facility will have an annual capacity of up to 85 MW of 225 W polycrystalline PV modules, sold under the name SCHOTT Solar Poly 225. The 225 W solar PV power module is, according to SCHOTT Solar, particularly well suited for commercial buildings and schools.
In addition to manufacturing PV modules, SCHOTT Solar says the Albuquerque facility “is the first in the USA to produce receivers used in parabolic trough, utility-scale, concentrated solar power plants (CSP).”
Initially, the two production lines will produce enough receivers to meet the demands of up to 400 MW CSP power plants per year.
The manufacturing process in Albuquerque has been designed to accommodate future developments for CSP receivers. Prototypes of next generation receivers were unveiled by SCHOTT Solar during the inauguration of the facility.
The CSP receivers come in new dimensions and can accommodate alternative heat transfer fluids, which could increase the overall efficiency of CSP power plants and thereby reduce costs for utility-scale solar energy production, SCHOTT Solar says.