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SolarWorld fulfills 1,000-worker commitment in Oregon and ramps one of world’s most advanced panel plants

HILLSBORO, Ore., Dec. 16, 2010 – SolarWorld has culminated its five-year drive to integrate, revitalize and expand U.S. operations by adding its 1,000th worker in Hillsboro, establishing the equivalent of four factories there and overhauling operations in Camarillo, Calif., all on schedule.

The biggest and most experienced U.S. crystalline silicon solar technology manufacturer has achieved extraordinary economies of scale on domestic soil by building out the four factory steps in Hillsboro – most recently including a highly automated panel-assembly factory in a new building – and modernizing solar power panel assembly in its more than 30-year-old factory in Camarillo. A host of allies, including the state of Oregon and its higher-education centers, have helped the company transform the former semiconductor plant site in Hillsboro into the largest solar manufacturing plant in the Americas.

“Our goals here were straightforward: to tool up annual production capacity to 500 megawatts at the U.S. sites and hire 1,000 workers in Hillsboro by 2011,” said Bob Beisner, managing director and vice president of the U.S. operations. “We have done just exactly that on the very schedule we laid out. But the feat – rare in these days of off-shoring and industrial recession – has been enormous, requiring the combined passions and dogged commitment of our many partners and employees.”

Approximately the 1,000th worker to be hired embodies that determination. Angela Beed, who traces her interest in clean energy to her childhood in rural Cove, Oregon, started work on her associate of science degree in microelectronics at Portland Community College with plans of working in the semiconductor industry. After SolarWorld announced its expansion and the college added photovoltaic coursework, she switched tracks. On Dec. 1, she became a maintenance technician in the company’s wafer-cutting plant.

“I was one of the lucky ones to get a job in something that I actually feel passionate about,” said Beed, 28, who lives in nearby Portland. “Now I feel even more drive.”

The company employs another 250 people, including sales and marketing employees, in Camarillo, where the SolarWorld expansion got its start. In mid- 2006, Germany-based SolarWorld acquired the assets of Shell Solar, featuring the Camarillo plant and its lineage of solar pioneering dating to 1975. In 2007, the company bought the former chip factory in Hillsboro, where it could establish much bigger operations to produce silicon crystal, solar wafers, photovoltaic cells and solar panels.

Support for the Hillsboro project has reached beyond the state. In January, the U.S. government granted $82.2 million in renewable-energy manufacturing tax credits – the largest for a solar manufacturer among $2.3 billion in tax-credit awards.

SolarWorld Real Value

SolarWorld manufactures and sells solar power solutions and in doing so contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. As the largest solar producer in the United States and Europe, SolarWorld employs about 3,200 people and carries out production in Hillsboro, Ore., and Freiberg and Arnstadt, Germany. From the raw material silicon to solar wafers, cells and panels, SolarWorld manages all stages of production ‒ including its own research and development. The company maintains high social standards at all locations across the globe and is committed to resource- and energy-efficient production. Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, SolarWorld was founded in 1998 and has been publicly traded on the stock market since 1999. For more information, visit www.solarworld-usa.com.

Media Contact

Devon Cichoski
Media relations manager
SolarWorld Industries America
4650 Adohr Lane
Camarillo, CA 93012
Mobile: 805-377-2905
Office: 805-388-6388
devon.cichoski(at)solarworld-usa.com