Sanyo, which makes the most efficient solar panel technology in the industry, announced that it has opened a plant near Salem, Oregon.
The Salem facility will produce silicon ingots and wafers. Salem-produced components will be used in the manufacture of Sanyo's HIT (Heterjunction with Intrinsic Thin-layer) solar cells and modules, which have the world's highest light-to-energy conversion efficiency.
One hundred employees already work at the Salem plant, and officials expect that figure to double by next year. "This new investment is proof that focusing our efforts on clean technology and renewable energy" is working, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski said at the unveiling.
Plant president Yasuyoshi Kawanishi noted that production commenced only 10 months after the plant was built. Sanyo's construction of the plant was incentivized by tax breaks on construction and equipment.
Over 1,000 jobs have been added to Oregon's economy by solar energy companies, noted Kulongoski. And a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts indicates that clean-energy jobs increased 9.1 percent between 1998 and 2007, as solar panel and wind energy production became entrenched in the American economy.