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San Diego picked as site for Soitec's North American solar-manufacturing headquarters

SAN DIEGO -- Soitec, a French company that manufactures semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, has selected a site in the City of San Diego for the company's new North American solar-manufacturing headquarters, said Mayor Jerry Sanders.

Soitec’s 176,000-square-foot facility, which has an annual production capacity of up to 200 megawatts, will be located at 16550 Via Esprillo in Rancho Bernardo. Scheduled to be operational by late 2012, the factory will produce Soitec’s proprietary Concentrix concentrated photovoltaic technology solar modules, creating up to 450 skilled jobs and indirectly generating more than 1,000 jobs in the San Diego region.

"Soitec’s solar manufacturing facility is an example of how the shift toward clean energy can be a boon for our region’s economy," Sanders said. “The factory creates skilled manufacturing jobs, builds San Diego’s base of innovative companies and will produce enough renewable solar energy to serve thousands of households per year. I couldn’t be more pleased with the positive impact it will have on San Diego.”

The new San Diego Soitec factory will supply Soitec’s Concentrix CPV technology to solar projects for more than 305 megawatts of clean energy in San Diego and Imperial Counties, as well as other utility-scale solar power projects throughout the southwestern United States. Soitec’s decision to locate its factory in the region was largely influenced by San Diego’s strong cleantech industry cluster and the region’s burgeoning solar market.

With its large private-sector solar market and the highest penetration of rooftop PV installations in the nation, has been ranked by Environment Today as the No. 1 Solar City. San Diego also has recently earned an Innovation Hub Designation from the state of California for its solar storage projects at UC San Diego and SDSU.

“San Diego has established itself as a world leader in the cleantech economy, and continues to grow more competitive in the global solar market by attracting new international solar companies to the region,” said Jim Waring, president of CleanTECH San Diego. “With a robust private-sector solar market comprised of more than 180 solar companies, San Diego is an ideal location for Soitec’s new solar factory, which will stimulate local job creation and manufacturing growth at a time when both areas are impacted.”

In addition to San Diego’s strong solar market, other factors Soitec cited in its decision to locate here were the region’s supportive business community and progressive utility; in 2011, SDG&E was named the most intelligent utility in the United States for the second year in a row by Intelligent Utility Magazine.

San Diego offers Soitec an opportunity to join an established and collaborative network of businesses fostered by Sanders’ administration, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., CleanTECH San Diego and SDG&E. Also included in this powerful network is UC San Diego, one of the most prominent research institutions in the country and a leader in clean technology research. This collaboration, which works to advance San Diego’s cleantech economy, was active in helping Soitec secure the solar power contracts necessary for the success of the new manufacturing facility.

“We’re pleased that our collaborative efforts have attracted solar power leader Soitec to the region," said Bill Geppert, president & CEO of San Diego Regional EDC. “Soitec’s new factory in San Diego and solar farms in Imperial County outfitted with its solar panels bring economic, environmental, and social benefits to our mega region in the form of contributed payroll, jobs and innovation.”

“We are very committed to the U.S. market and to the San Diego community and look forward to increasing our presence in the region,” said André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, CEO and chairman of the board of Soitec. “With the support of community leaders, we look forward to continuing our expansion in San Diego and providing systems that not only deliver performance and competitive energy prices, but that also spur innovation and jobs for the region.”