SAN JOSE, Calif. - Stion Inc., a manufacturer of thin-film solar panels, will build a new production facility in Mississippi.
This is part of an incentive agreement with the state that includes a $75 million loan and other tax and training incentives. The project, which will be the first thin-film solar panel factory in Mississippi, will deliver more than 1,000 jobs and $500 million of investment over the next six years.
The first phase of the project includes a 100 MW line planned for Hattiesburg, Miss., which will entail more than $100 million of investment and 200 direct jobs in 2011 and 2012.
Stion is producing high-efficiency, thin-film solar panels using monolithically integrated circuits. Stion’s panels are specifically designed for use in all major market segments, including commercial/government, residential, utility and off-grid.
Stion was founded in 2006 and is backed by leading venture capital investors, including Khosla Ventures, VentureTech Alliance, Lightspeed Venture Partners, General Catalyst Partners, and Braemar Energy Ventures.
In June 2010, San Jose-based Stion closed a $70 million Series D financing to help scale production. This included a partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Co. Ltd. (TSMC), the world’s largest semiconductor foundry. TSMC is ramping up its own solar cell lines in Taiwan, based on the technology.
Also last year, Stion received a $10.5 million loan to expand the manufacturing capacity at its San Jose factory. Total cost of the project is approximately $22.2 million, with the company providing the remainder of the financing not supplied by a loan from the Energy Commission. By December 2011, the improvements should increase the annual capacity of the photovoltaic panel manufacturing plant by 140 megawatts a year and add or retain 73 full-time equivalent jobs.
''We are currently producing panels in San Jose and will continue to do so,'' said Frank Yang, director of business development for Stion, in an e-mail.
''We have several test sites installed, including one which was part of the recently unveiled Green Vision Showcase in downtown San Jose. We think that (our solar cells are) attractive in terms of cost structure, performance and scalability and will have additional product-related announcements later in the year. Our primary focus is on continuing to improve cost and efficiency and scaling up production,'' he said.