Viewing blog posts written by Gino DiCaro


Why Not California #7: California-based company banking on Las Vegas solar manufacturing

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Feb. 25, 2009

Read this Las Vegas Sun article on why a California-based company (and CMTA member), Ausra, is changing its core mission to manufacturing solar supplies (as opposed to building solar generation facilities) and producing those supplies in a neighboring state.

Here's the abbreviated version:
  1. Ausra abandoning most of its large solar facility projects in the west and now manufacturing solar equipment in existing Las Vegas facility to supply medium sized operations in California and the region.
  2. Company will supply limited new renewable supply for utilities struggling to meet California's 20-soon-to-be-33-percent renewable standard
  3. Company's only viable option is manufacturing in a cost competitive state and supplying into California's smaller energy markets
  4. Lack of funding for -- and expensive nature of -- big solar projects.
  5. "Not in my back yard" problem for new big solar sites.
  6. California's high costs put their high wage manufacturing facility in Las Vegas in the first place
Solar power is one way to reduce our coal fired energy consumption and it likely will play an increasing role in California's aggressive hunt for a growing renewable power supply.  Hopefully research will innovate cheaper ways to produce and transmit photovoltaic power so consumers and businesses in California won't have to pay largely increased costs.  The flip side of the solar movement was the almost-guaranteed new manufacturing jobs as an additional benefit.  Remember, each megawatt of solar power generated creates 20 manufacturing jobs per year, but we've already seen three solar manufacturers pop up in Oregon and one here in California, Opti-Solar, recently layed off 105 of its employees.

As high operational costs persist, venture capital dries up and unrealistic environmental goals prevail, Californians will reap few of the purported economic and environmental benefits we've heard so much about in the renewable power arena.   Just ask Ausra in Nevada, Opti-Solar in California or 3 Solar manufacturers in Oregon.



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