Baja Positioning To Be Regional Solar Leader

The Pacific Mexican state of Baja California is swiftly becoming the region's solar panel manufacturing powerhouse, boosting its profile as the "Silicon Border." In recent weeks, two foreign companies -- Q-Cells of Germany and Kyocera of Japan -- announced new investments totally nearly $4.9 billion in plants that will produce for export mainly to the United States.

Q-Cells, the biggest producer of solar panels in the world, is investing $3.5 billion in a plant in Mexicali. The plant will open in October and will create 600 direct jobs and 12,000 indirect jobs, according to the Baja California government. Kyocera, a Japanese manufacturer, also is expand its plant in Tijuana by ten times with an investment of almost $40 million with plans to sell in the US. By 2011, Kyocera hopes to be making panels that will produce a total of 150 MW per year. Unisolar, another company located in Tijuana, increased by eight times its production this year, with its panels to supply some 68 MW.

Most of the solar panels will be exported to the United States and California in particular, where Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to install 3,000 MW of solar capacity by 2017.

Baja, known as the "Golden State" has also committed to obtain 20 percent of its own energy from renewable sources. The state's energy demand is growing 100 MW per year.

American, Asia and European firms are also reportedly looking at Baja as a future site for wind energy manufacturing. :: Via Terra (Spanish link)

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Tags: California | Mexico