Konarka opens roll-to-roll thin-film solar manufacturing facility
Konarka Technologies, Inc., opened a roll-to-roll flexible thin-film solar manufacturing facility in New Bedford, MA.
Konarka Technologies, Inc ., opened a roll-to-roll flexible thin-film solar manufacturing facility in New Bedford, MA. The 250,000 square foot facility will produce a thin-film solar material dubbed Power Plastic and the plant has the potential to produce 1 gigawatt of flexible plastic solar modules per year.
Using multiple in-line processing stations with precision multi-layer manufacturing process that are adaptable to a variety of printing and coating technologies, the plant will enable the company to further develop and advance non-enabled polymer photovoltaic materials. In addition to acquiring the fully automated roll-to-roll manufacturing line, Konarka has plans to hire over 100 additional employees as production increases toward capacity over the next two to three years.
"Our technical leadership and innovation in flexible thin film solar, along with this facility's capabilities of producing in excess of 10 million square meters of material per year, will allow us to produce Power Plastic for indoor, portable, outdoor and building integrated applications" said Howard Berke, executive chairman and co-founder of Konarka.
The company has secured over $100 million from leading venture capital and private equity funds, as well as $18 million in government agency research grants from the U.S. and Europe. It is also one of the original recipients of the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar American Initiative (SAI) awards in 2007.
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Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey