With its initial effects still months out in the future, politicos and media talking heads endlessly speculate on the efficacy and results of a federal government “green” stimulus package. Meanwhile, industry participants are getting on with trying to make it work, continuing their efforts to commercialize, and lower the costs of solar and renewable energy.
Down south in Norcross, Georgia, crystalline solar cell manufacturer Suniva Inc. announced that manufacturing expert PM Pai, the former chief operating officer of SunPower, has joined its board of directors. Pai’s joining comes at an opportune time as Suniva looks to increase production, streamline its supply chain operations and expand marketing of its “low-cost, high-efficiency” line of monocrystalline solar cells, all of which are manufactured in the USA.
“PM is one of the most highly regarded minds in manufacturing and is credited as a major force in turning SunPower into a leader in the global solar industry,” Suniva CEO John Baumstark said in a news release. “Suniva’s solar cell technology was specifically designed to increase efficiency without high cost and PM’s expertise and advice will be most valuable in helping to bring our new technology to market quickly and to establish market leadership.”
Ramping Up Production
Completed a mere six months after site selection, Suniva opened the Southeast’s first solar cell factory outside of Atlanta in December. The plant will create more than 100 permanent, high-paying jobs by the end of the year, a total that’s expected to grow as production is ramped up to its 175MWp full capacity in 2010.
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue commented on the significance of the factory opening at its ribbon cutting ceremony. “With patents developed in the laboratories of Georgia Tech, Suniva’s story is a prime example of how Georgia can lead the nation by teaming the strengths of public and private institutions.
“Georgia made a strong commitment to the clean energy industry through its Energy Innovation Center and Bioenergy Corridor, and Suniva’s new facility makes us one of the first states in the nation manufacturing solar cell technology.”
Suniva is in the midst of an effort to increase production capacity 200%, increasing production at its first plant from 32MWp to 96MWp this year.
Pai’s joining Suniva’s board will provide a boost to the effort. Pai was COO responsible for strategic planning, production and expansion of supply chain development at SunPower from April 2005 to July 2008. At Suniva he will work closely with company founder and CTO Ajeet Rohatgi, vice president of manufacturing Stephen Shea and Daniel Meier, vice president of R&D, according to the company.