Oregon solar manufacturing plants power up

According to a New York Times report, German solar maker SolarWorld opened its 480,000-square foot semiconductor plant in Hillsboro, OR. Meanwhile, Sanyo broke ground at its 861,000-square foot factory at the Renewable Energy and Technology Park in Salem, OR.
By Plant Engineering Staff October 16, 2008

The state of Oregon continues to produce manufacturing jobs and solar manufacturing facilities. According to a New York Times report , German solar maker SolarWorld opened its 480,000-square foot semiconductor plant in Hillsboro, OR. Meanwhile, Sanyo broke ground at its 861,000-square foot factory at the Renewable Energy and Technology Park in Salem, OR, which is an 80-acre parcel of land designed for industrial uses. Solar manufacturers continue to move to Oregon due in part to the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit.

The potential downside is what the impact the new solar facilities will have on Oregon’s energy supply. The semiconductor manufacturing facilities can produce 20 to 70 MW of power load, which is difficult for the power grid to absorb. The ramping up of heavy industrial manufacturing without prior planning would destabilize the local power grid. To combat this problem, Oregon utilities added new substations, upgraded distribution and transmission lines and might potentially have to build or buy additional generation.

Another benefit associated with the building of new manufacturing facilities is the reusing of existing manufacturing capacities. Oregon has numerous manufacturing and industrial sites that have remained closed over the past few decades, but in some cases, high capacity lines are already in place. The reused infrastructure could be lead to greater development of solar and green manufacturing operations.