Solar Company Brightens San Diego Economy
French company Soitec is bringing its North American headquarters to Rancho Bernardo. It will also produce solar modules at the location, which will be used in larger solar projects. The energy generated from the solar modules will go into San Diego Gas & Electric’s power grid.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said consumers won’t be directly involved right now.
“But once you get it to scale and you can actually start condensing it, and they work world wide on these things.… It probably will benefit consumers," he said.
California Gov. Jerry Brown was also on hand to open the $150 million factory. Brown said Soitec's plant is a step toward California meeting its goal of getting a third of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. The governor also said the state will surpass that target.
Soitec says the plant will produce enough panels for 200 megawatts of electricity each year - enough to power 75,000 homes.
The French company has signed contracts to supply panels to a plant in California's Imperial Valley. Soitec also plans to build five solar plants of its own in east San Diego County.
Soitec says it is building the factory without any government financial support. The plant will employ 450 people and indirectly generate another 1,000 jobs in the San Diego region. It will be operational late next year.