Ceramic Industry

Saint-Gobain Begins Construction on First U.S. Solar Plant

October 4, 2011

Saint-Gobain recently announced that construction work on Saint-Gobain Solar’s mirror line for solar thermal power stations has begun. Located near Phoenix in Goodyear, Ariz., the plant will be Saint-Gobain Solar’s first manufacturing facility in North America. The facility will supply primarily the domestic market and will eventually produce solar mirrors for thermal power station technologies (concentration towers, linear Fresnel lenses, etc.).

The new solar mirror line is planned to come on-stream in the last quarter of this year and will produce 50 new jobs for the area. This investment reportedly complements Saint-Gobain’s current solar mirror production base, which includes a parabolic mirror plant in Portugal and a flat mirror facility in Germany.

“Our strategic decision to expand manufacturing into the United States confirms the importance of this market in our business portfolio,” said Fabrice Didier, managing director of Saint-Gobain Solar. “The new facility will be working with the best technology available.”

The plant’s projected production capacity corresponds to an annual thermal power output of 300 MW, or the equivalent annual energy requirements for an American town of 150,000 inhabitants. Every year, the green energy produced using this plant’s mirrors will reportedly enable savings of up to 320,000 tons of carbon dioxide (which would have been generated by a coal-fired power plant), the equivalent of replanting nearly 62,000 acres of forest.

According to Alain Garnier, director of Saint-Gobain Solar North America, local production of solar mirrors in Arizona accelerates the company’s plans for growth in the North American solar market. “Local production of solar mirrors means we are now able to offer the same quality solar products in the U.S. as we do in Europe,” said Garnier. “Perhaps just as important, local production also means a reduction in our carbon footprint regarding the transportation of these products over long distances. We are grateful to the state of Arizona, which has adopted a proactive policy to encourage companies from the solar sector to establish manufacturing plants. The Arizona Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program helped to encourage us to select the state for our new plant. Following a tough selection process, we chose to set up our plant in the Phoenix area, in Goodyear, where we are pleased to have been very positively received.”

For more information, visit www.saint-gobain.com.