Solyndra Breaks Ground for New 500MW Solar Panel Plant

Solyndra Breaks Ground for New 500MW Solar Panel Plant

Thin film solar-panel maker Solyndra Inc., recipient of the DOE's first loan guarantee to back innovative technology, has begun construction of a second manufacturing plant.

With Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lending a hand, Solyndra broke ground for the new plant, which it is calling Fab 2, on Friday (see photo below).

In March, Chu announced that Solyndra would be the first firm to receive a federal loan guarantee under a DOE program that was established more than three years ago to promote innovative technology -- but lay dormant until this spring with the coming of the new administration in Washington, D.C., and passage of the Recovery Act.

The $535 million loan guarantee and $198 million from an equity financing round that was led by Argonaut Private Equity, provide the capital for Solyndra's Fab 2 building project.

Construction of the plant will enable the firm to tackle its contractual backlog of over $2 billion, according to Solyndra.

The company estimates that its two facilities will make enough solar panels over their lifetime to prevent the release of more than 350 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.

The company also said the construction project will employ 3,000 people. Operation of the complete facility is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs.

Images courtesy of Solyndra.