SolarWorld, a crystalline silicon solar producer in the Americas, will add a solar-panel production line in Hillsboro to bring the panel-assembly factory’s capacity up to 530 megawatts (MW) and expand advanced cell production capacity by 100 MW and add 200 jobs.
Details of the announcements include:
- SolarWorld’s new line will increase annual solar-panel production capacity from 380 MW to 530 MW. The factory will remain the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. The company views this expansion as a stepping-stone to 630 MW capacity in the near future.
- SolarWorld will increase production capacity of its advanced-technology PERC (passive emitter rear contact) photovoltaic cells from 335 MW to 435 MW. SolarWorld has led the world industry in industrializing PERC innovation, beginning with a $27 million investment in Hillsboro in 2012. With the expansion, the company will produce 60-cell mono-crystalline panels with power densities of 280 watts-peak and higher.
- As a result of these expansions, SolarWorld will add about 200 full-time jobs. Using Oregon’s employment multiplier for manufacturing – the estimate of indirect jobs created for every new direct factory job — the expansions will result in an approximately 540 additional upstream and downstream jobs.
The projects, valued at more than a combined $10 million, bring the company’s total investment in the state to about $630 million. SolarWorld employment in Hillsboro will return to 900 workers.
The announcement comes at an important time for the company.
On Dec. 17, the U.S. Department of Commerce will announce final determinations on the company’s current anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duty petitions against manufacturers from China and Taiwan. Earlier this year, Commerce announced preliminary anti-dumping tariffs ranging from 26.33 percent to 58.87 percent (165.04 percent for the “China-wide rate”) for China and 20.86 percent to 27.59 percent for Taiwan and preliminary anti-subsidy duties ranging from 18.56 percent to 35.21 percent for China.
If Commerce affirms its earlier determinations, the U.S. International Trade Commission is tentatively scheduled to make a final ruling on the cases on Jan. 20.