The rapid expansion of the solar-electric industry in the United States does not yet appear to be slowing.
Two companies recently announced plans to establish new operations, in California and Georgia.
In California, U.S-based Solar Power Inc., which owns and operates a manufacturing site in Shenzen, China, said that it has received an initial commitment of about $25 million in federal stimulus funding to help it establish a manufacturing plant in Sacramento County.
The company produces multicrystalline silicon solar modules, a type commonly used on homes and businesses.
The funding would consist of $24.7 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds from the county, obtained through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Solar Power Inc. also said it would develop a solar photovoltaic power plant in Sacramento County with a peak production capacity of 10 megawatts. The largest solar PV plant now operating in the state has a capacity of 21 megawatts. The state is home to solar thermal plants in the desert that have much higher generation capacities.
"SolarPower Inc. has positioned itself to pursue the opportunities the federal stimulus plan offers," said Steve Kircher, the company's chairman and CEO, in a news release. "Expanding our manufacturing base to California will significantly enhance our ability to meet growing demand for our solar system development expertise and our top-ranked solar panels across the U.S."
In Georgia, the Belgium-based company Enfinity announced that it would set up a U.S. headquarters in Atlanta.
Enfinity develops and finances solar photovoltaic installations for commercial, municipal and utility customers. The company said it would create at least 30 jobs over two years.
"We're just at the beginning of a sharp growth trajectory for Enfinity," said Rafael Dobrzynski, CEO of Enfinity America Corp., in a news release issued by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. "The central location of Atlanta to our markets in the southeast U.S., its transportation hub for ease of access across the U.S., Canada and South America and the spirit of innovation embraced by its academic and business community will provide the foundation for Enfinity to consolidate, intensify and broaden our reach in the delivery of renewable-energy solutions."
Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, said: "Georgia is a leader in the alternative energy sector, and welcomes the collaboration with cutting-edge solutions providers like Enfinity to enhance the state’s position in this sector. Enfinity’s Americas headquarters in Atlanta adds to the growing community of alternative energy enterprises that successfully do business in Georgia."
From the Northeast to the West Coast, solar companies have been opening and expanding plants and offices at a pace that began picking up toward the end of 2009. Announcements of plans for new solar installation projects across the country have risen in parallel.
Prices of solar photovoltaic modules and installations have been declining since last year, helping to stimulate demand for equipment and expertise.