China-based solar energy company, Suntech Power Holdings, has announced at the U.S.-China Green Tech Summit that its first U.S. manufacturing plant would be located in the Greater Phoenix, Arizona area.
The plant, which will have an initial production capacity of 30 megawatts and is expected to begin production in the third quarter of 2010, is aimed at aiding Suntech's expansion into the North American clean-energy market.
The in the announcement Suntech stated that this makes it the first Chinese cleantech company to bring manufacturing jobs to America. Suntech says it selected the Greater Phoenix area for the plant because of Arizona's leadership in research through Arizona State University, and statewide renewable energy policies, particularly its Renewable Energy Standard and distributed generation set-aside, as well as a supportive local business climate represented by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. The Suntech U.S. plant will employ over 75 full-time staff when it opens and may double this number within a year as the North American market develops.
Initially starting with 30 MW of PV module production capacity, the Suntech plant is configured for growth to respond to the expected expansion of the U.S. solar market over the next few years.
Locating the plant close to Suntech's U.S. customers will reduce the time, costs, and carbon footprint associated with long-distance shipping of Suntech panels. The plant, which will be approximately 80,000 to 100,000 square feet in area, is expected to allow for long-term growth of manufacturing capabilities to meet increasing American demand for solar power.
Suntech plans to make a final decision on the specific location of the plant in the coming weeks.