Abound Solar plans 13-fold CdTe thin-film PV expansion in US

Abound Solar expects to triple manufacturing capacity of cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic solar modules to 200MW by yearend 2012 at its Colorado plant, the first steps in a planned expansion to meet increased global demand.

The company expects to add a further 640MW module production capacity in 2014 at a new facility in the state of Indiana. Development of the site, which is being leased, will create at least 850 full-time jobs.

Abound now has 65MW capacity at its Colorado site and will double that with a second production line in January. A third line will take capacity to 200MW. Becky Elizey, marketing communications manager tells Recharge at the Solar Power International trade show here.

To finance the Colorado expansion, Abound anticipates using $100m of funding backed with a $400m, seven-year US Energy Department (DOE) loan guarantee. Other funds available are from a $110m equity investment from the company’s private owners. Abound has raised $200m in venture capital and private equity since 2007.

She says that Abound is currently on track to meet certain manufacturing and technology milestones set by DOE for it to access the loan guarantee. It plans to invest the balance of the guaranteed loan to support construction of the Indiana facility.

In the meanwhile, Abound is focused on cutting production and other costs to enable it to compete in worldwide. The company has done well in India, its largest market, followed by Germany, Italy and the US, where it believes there is good potential to gain share. “We continue to open new markets in Asia and Africa,” says Elizey, who adds Abound targets commercial, not residential, sectors.

When asked about General Electric’s decision to build a 400MW thin-film PV plant in Colorado, Elizey says the move is affirmation in both CdTe technology and growth potential in this market.