Stion, a San Jose, Calif.-based manufacturer of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar modules, has opened its new factory in Hattiesburg, Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour and other state and local officials are expected to attend an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The project, which is the first thin-film solar factory in the southeastern U.S., will deliver more than 1,000 jobs and $500 million of investment over the next six years, according to Stion. The first phase of the project includes a 100 MW line that will entail more than $100 million of investment and 200 direct jobs in 2011 and 2012.
Since announcing the Hattiesburg site in January, Stion has hired 100 employees locally and implemented recruiting and training programs with Pearl River Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi. Production from the project's first phase will begin later this year.
In addition, the company says that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has verified 14.1 percent efficiency for its production-scale (65 cm x 165 cm) thin-film circuits. This is the highest efficiency ever demonstrated for a monolithically integrated thin-film circuit at production scale, according to Stion.
‘Exceeding 14% efficiency at production scale represents a significant advancement for CIGS-based thin-film technologies,’ says Chet Farris, president and CEO of Stion. ‘Manufacturing high-efficiency, large-area CIGS modules with an inherently low-cost structure and repeatable, scalable process is critical to driving the fundamental product economics.’