Hillsboro, Ore.-based solar manufacturer SolarWorld says it has made new investments totaling $27 million to upgrade and replace several factory systems and debut technological advances that are expected to boost the power output of its modules.
Work to install new manufacturing systems has begun and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2013. The upgrades will involve three technological advances fostered and tested by SolarWorld research-and-development specialists in Oregon and Europe. The company says it will not provide further details on the specifics of the upgrades for competitive reasons.
The work will employ dozens of contractors' employees, without affecting either the company's Hillsboro workforce of about 1,000 or its total unit output.
The new initiatives push SolarWorld's total capital investment in Hillsboro to more than $600 million, establishing the plant as the only solar factory in the Western Hemisphere that performs every manufacturing step, the company notes.
SolarWorld is currently best known as the leader of the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing, which filed a controversial anti-dumping complaint and countervailing-duty petition last fall against China. The U.S. Department of Commerce voted in May to impose duties on Chinese solar modules as a result of the trade action.