Signet Solar Chooses Saxony for New Facility

2007-06-18 08:15 821

DRESDEN, Germany, June 18 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- The California-based solar module manufacturer Signet Solar broke ground today on its main European factory. The facility, located near the eastern German city of Dresden, will serve as a production line as well as headquarters for research and development.

The start-up will invest EURO50 million into the facility that should begin operations mid-way through the year 2008. The company expects then to have 130 employees at the location. On the site, the company will design and produce solar (photovoltaic) modules. These devices convert the sun's rays into electricity.

Signet Solar hopes that its products can help achieve the goal of "grid parity" for solar energy within the next 5 years. "Grid parity" means that electricity derived from solar energy sources will cost the same as energy originating from conventional sources such as fossil fuels. The company's investment is another success story for the eastern German region known as "Silicon Saxony" because of the concentration of solar and semi-conductor firms in the area. Currently there are 250 companies, with a total of 17,000 employees engaged in the semi-conductor, electronics, and micro system industries in the Saxony area. Their total turnover is EURO3 billion annually.

Invest in Germany advised Signet Solar through its investment decision process and helped the company see the advantages of an investment in Saxony. The firm chose the Dresden area largely because its primary silicon supplier, U.S. based Applied Materials Inc., has a facility in Dresden. Additionally, support from the state government, and minimal bureaucratic hurdles from the local authorities were deciding factors.

According to Nikolai Dobrott, Director for Renewable Energies and Resources at Invest in Germany, Signet Solar's decision to invest in 'Silicon Saxony' further bolsters the region's reputation as a location for high-tech investments. "The investment of Signet Solar is proof not only of the strengths of eastern Germany as an investment location, but also for all of Germany as a center for research and development. Our universities and research institutions are on the cutting edge in scientific discovery, especially in fields such as solar energy and microelectronics that are certain to grow in significance. Additionally, the German government at both the federal and state levels offers financial support to these industries, further strengthening the chances that international companies will succeed with an investment in Germany."

Invest in Germany is the official investment promotion agency (IPA) of Germany. Its mandate is to assist and advise international companies about investment opportunities in Germany. Invest in Germany was formed by the merger of the Industrial Investment Council (IIC), the former IPA for eastern Germany, and Invest in Germany, the former federal marketing agency for all of Germany.

Source: Invest in Germany
Keywords: Oil/Energy