SolarWorld breaks ground on 25-MW Desert Star Solar Projects in California

Mojave systems showcase SolarWorld's project, product capabilities

HILLSBORO, Ore., Sept. 7, 2012 – SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years, announced today that it has begun construction of its 25-megawatt (DC) Desert Star Solar Projects in California's Mojave Desert. The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) division of SolarWorld, which owns the land and projects near Twentynine Palms, Calif., is overseeing all phases of the projects, including design, engineering, procurement, permitting and construction. Once completed later this year, Desert Star will rank among California's largest operating crystalline-silicon solar installations.

"Desert Star is the latest in a line of utility-scale projects dating to the early 1980s that demonstrates the deep experience and wide-ranging capabilities of SolarWorld's EPC division," said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas, the company's commercial arm, based in Camarillo, Calif. "The projects spotlight the best of American solar ingenuity, combining our U.S.-manufactured solar panels and single-axis tracker with some of the country's brightest solar engineering and construction talent."

Situated on two land parcels totaling 164 acres between the communities of Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree, Desert Star will feed an estimated 58,312 megawatt-hours of renewable energy annually into the Southern California Edison electrical grid, enough to power 9,000 typical American homes each year. The projects are expected to eliminate about 31,000 tons of carbon emissions a year, the equivalent of taking about 61,000 vehicles off the road for their life spans.

The projects will feature 100,092 SolarWorld Sunmodule™ solar panels manufactured in the company's Hillsboro, Ore., factory and mounted on SolarWorld's American-made Suntrac® single-axis trackers. Designed to streamline installation costs and improve mechanical reliability for utility-scale solar installations, the Suntrac tracker can boost a system's electricity production by up to 21 percent, compared with fixed ground-mount racking.

SolarWorld began acquiring and designing the Desert Star Solar Projects this past spring. Grading and site preparation began in June. Beginning in September, SolarWorld plans to hire about 150 local trade and non-trade workers for construction and permanent operations and maintenance positions. The company estimates the installation will infuse $5.2 million into the local economy during construction.

About SolarWorld (
SolarWorld (ISIN: DE0005108401) is a worldwide leader in offering brand-name, high-quality, crystalline silicon solar-power technology. The company's strength is its fully integrated solar production. From silicon as the raw material through wafers, cells and panels all the way to turn-key solar systems of all sizes, the group combines all stages of the solar value chain. The central business activity is selling high-quality panels into the installation and distribution trades and wafers to the international solar cell industry. Group headquarters are located in Bonn, Germany, with sales sites in Singapore, South Africa, Spain, France as well as in the U.S. state of California. The group's largest production facilities operate in Freiberg, Germany, and Hillsboro in the U.S. state of Oregon. Sustainability is the basis of the group strategy. Under the name Solar2World, the group supports community aid projects using off-grid solar-power solutions in developing countries, exemplifying sustainable economic development. Worldwide, SolarWorld employs about 3,000 people. SolarWorld AG has been quoted on the stock exchange since 1999 and today is listed on, among others, the TecDAX and koDAX as well as in the sustainability index NAI.

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