DOE loan enables Abound Solar expansion

Abound Solar, a manufacturer of cadmium telluride thin-film photovoltaic solar modules, has been granted a $400m (£264m) seven-year loan from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to expand its solar module manufacturing capabilities.

The company will use the DOE funds to increase production of its thin-film cadmium-telluride photovoltaic modules at an existing manufacturing plant and to establish a second manufacturing plant.

Abound Solar has raised approximately $200m in venture capital and private equity since 2007, and since then it has built its first production line in Longmont, Colorado, and begun commercial operations.

Abound anticipates using $100m of the DOE loan to increase the capacity of the Longmont facility to 200MW per year by the end of 2011. The company plans to invest the balance of the guaranteed loan to support the construction of a larger manufacturing facility in Tipton, Indiana.

The Indiana facility will occupy a new factory originally constructed for a Chrysler auto parts supplier that was never able to move in due to the economic downturn.

The company anticipates that the project will create approximately 2,000 jobs during the construction of the plant and 1,500 permanent jobs. When both plants are complete, Abound Solar will be able to produce more than 840MW of solar modules annually.

The company’s proprietary photovoltaic module manufacturing technology was developed jointly by Colorado State University, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Science Foundation.