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"SolarWorld to focus growth on U.S., Europe"

SolarWorld announced Wednesday that it sold its shares in a joint venture production site in South Korea. The company will instead focus on expanding its manufacturing capacity at its sites in the United Sates and in Germany.

"SolarWorld to focus growth on U.S., Europe"

photo courtesy of Sustainable Business Oregon

By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon

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SolarWorld announced Wednesday that it sold its shares in a joint venture production site in South Korea. The company will instead focus on expanding its manufacturing capacity at its sites in the United Sates and in Germany.

SolarWorld operates North America's largest solar manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, where it keeps its U.S. headquarters. The Hillsboro plant opened in 2008 and earlier this year reached the 1,000-employee level, cementing Oregon as the top state for solar manufacturing.

"We're a pretty fast-growing company," said Ben Santarris, SolarWorld spokesman. "We continue to hire."

But Santarris added that Thursday's announcement, while telegraphing a commitment to U.S. and Europe manufacturing, didn't signal an immediate expansion of the Hillsboro facility. The company is still working within the plant's 500-megawatt capacity.

"People want to generate their own power in the future, solar power for self-consumption — clean and cost-efficient with the power of the sun," said SolarWorld Chairman and CEO Frank Asbeck, in a statement. "To this end they need reliability and quality. And that is precisely what we deliver to them — made in Germany and made in the U.S."

Shares in the Korean joint venture were sold at a profit, according to the company. The project was started in 2008 in partnership with SolarPark Engineering.

SolarWorld's combined manufacturing capacity in Hillsboro, Camarillo, Calif., and Freiberg/Saxony in Germany will reach more than one gigawatt by the end of the year. Company officials said in March they expect to double U.S. sales in 2011.

 


 
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