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Clean solar energy production and products from Mexicali

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Silicon Border CleanTECH Park (click to expand)

Silicon Border CleanTECH Park (click to expand)

In Mexicali there is a plan to build a facility to manufacture solar cells and generate power for both sides of the California-Mexico border.

And no, the developers were not backed by U.S. taxpayers like Solyndra. The Mexicali $500 billion project is backed by Taiwan-private business in Taiwan.

The Taiwanese-backed project will break ground in November west of Mexicali in a high-tech industrial park known as Silicon Border CleanTECH Park which is right on the border with California.

The project, named Baja Sun Energy, will be the first in Mexico to integrate manufacturing of solar cells with energy production, said David Tenney, chief financial officer for Silicon Border.

The initial phase envisions an investment of $60 million for a 10-megawatt solar farm, but within four years, the plan is to expand the energy production capacity to 100 megawatts and entail a $500 million investment.

“It’s one of the most favorable climates for producing solar power,” Tenney said. Another advantage is that the facility is located by three cross-border transmission lines near Baja California’s La Rosita switch, one of them owned by San Diego-based Sempra Energy.

The launch of the investment was announced Monday during a visit to Taipei by Baja California Governor José Guadalupe Osuna Millán. The governor met with executives from Arima EcoEnergy Technologies, a Taiwanese company that has a 50 percent equity interest in the project. Arima has developed solar energy projects in Spain, Taiwan and China. Silicon Border, whose corporate offices are in San Diego, holds a 25 percent interest, as does Grupo Maiz, a Mexican company.

“The financial crisis really put a stop on a great percentage of renewable energy investments,” Tenney said. “We’re feeling like we’re in a great position,” he said, with good strategic location, labor rates comparable to coastal China’s, and a skilled labor pool in Baja California.

At full capacity, the facility will create 4,240 jobs in Baja California, though “the total supply chain will ultimately create more than 8,000 jobs for the Baja California/San Diego region,” according to statements from Silicon Border and the Baja California government.

The project is a great boost for Silicon Border, a project developed by two entrepreneurs from Rancho Santa Fe with the vision of attracting technology companies from Asia to North America.

DJ Hill, Silicon Border’s CEO, touted the strategic location of the park, within a day’s drive of most of the western United States.

Viva Mexicali!

1 comment to Clean solar energy production and products from Mexicali

  • Tom

    that’s the problem. I don’t see any of our politicians saying much about this issue…how are Americans going to compete?
    Tom
    Seattle, Wa

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