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AQT Solar Compact CIGS Plant Could Supply 60MW of Energy

The firm’s new Californian facility is already producing 2MW worth of energy to Sol Pacifico. It says the small footprint of each of its machine provides an efficient use of space within the 20,000 square foot facility, outrivaling its closest competitors.

AQT Solar, a major developer of low-cost CIGS (copper-indium-gallium-diselenide) thin-film solar cells has opened a new fully-operational facility in Sunnyvale, California.

The facility has already begun production to fill current customer orders of 20 MW, with substantial purchase orders in the pipeline. AQT also released the name of its first customer installation, Sol Pacifico, a large property development, which has ordered 2 MW of energy to power its gated community in Baja Mexico, on the Pacific coast.

AQT’s claims its rapid path from inception to production in two years is unprecedented in the solar industry, and illustrates how its technology and business model, dubbed CIGS 2.0, are charting new territory in the market.

AQT’s new facility, fueledby a recent $10 million round of funding, currently houses a 15 MW manufacturing line, and can easily scale up to 60 MW of production capacity. The manufacturing line’s modular design allowed for quick on-site deployment and is a result of the company’s partnership with Intevac, a leader in high-productivity manufacturing equipment.

The preparation, build-out, line implementation and qualification, and production initiation was completed for the Sunnyvale location in less than eight weeks. The small footprint of each highly-automated machine provides an efficient use of space within the 20,000 square foot facility. As a result, AQT can produce up to 60 MW in an area many times smaller than its nearest competitors.

“Starting commercial production so early in our company’s lifecycle is a confirmation of our business model, the leverage we receive from world class partners like Intevac and our breakthrough CIGS production process,” said Michael Bartholomeusz, CEO of AQT. “We have set aggressive production goals for the remainder of 2010 and beyond and are excited to kick it off in California, the heart of the solar industry.”

AQT’s first installation, Sol Pacifico, is scheduled to break ground in 2011. The 2 MW project, which will potentially grow to 9 MW, will support a large high-end resort development in Baja Mexico. “This project represents a concerted effort at renewable and responsible resort development,” said Antonio Cordova, project manager, Sol Pacifico. “Our vision was of a sustainable and eco-friendly project and we are excited to work with AQT to make this vision a reality.”

AQT expects to move the company’s headquarters and research and development from its original location to the current site in August of this year. It expects to add 40 green jobs over the next six months in Silicon Valley. AQT Solar is currently engaged in site evaluation for its second high-volume facility and expects to break-ground on this site early next year.
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