Monday, July 02, 2007

European solar-equipment manufacturer launches Tucson plant

Solon AG, one of Europe's largest manufacturers of solar energy systems, said today that it has launched a new subsidiary in Tucson to make and install commercial solar-electric equipment.

Solon America Corp. will begin making solar energy components at a South Side plant by late 2007 and is expected to ramp up to full production by early 2008, Berlin-based Solon AG said.

The company said it is finalizing deals to acquire a 100,000-square-foot facility at 2700 E. Executive Drive, Suite 130, off South Tucson Boulevard south of East Valencia Road.

"We are tremendously pleased to be in this historic city, long known for its efforts to make solar power commercially feasible," Olaf Koester, president and CEO of Solon America, said in a statement.

The plant will produce high- efficiency photovoltaic modules, which turn sunlight directly into electricity, and provide integrated solar design and installation services to large-scale commercial, municipal and utility customers nationwide, the company said.

Solon already owns an interest in a local solar-panel manufacturer.

Last year, Solon and a European investor acquired Tucson-based Global Solar Energy Inc., a maker of thin-film photovoltaics, from UniSource Energy Corp., parent of Tucson Electric Power Co.

Solon acquired 19 percent of the company. An unidentified venture capitalist acquired the rest.

Global Solar recently purchased a 100,000-square-foot building and 22 acres on the Southeast Side. Global, which mainly makes flexible solar modules for military and consumer uses, plans to move from its current 20,000-square-foot facility at 5575 S. Houghton Road in January.

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