A Powerful Economic Engine Fueled by the Sun

Sep32009

MANUFACTURE AND GENERATE CLEAN ENERGY LOCALLY. RECIRCULATE YOUR ENERGY DOLLARS LOCALLY. It’s a concept that’s pretty hard to argue. Most recognize that taking advantage of the Sun's energy addresses greenhouse gas emissions, but this post isn’t aimed at making more sweeping claims that solar will save the planet. Rather, what’s often overlooked is that manufacturing clean energy locally yields economic benefits to the community.

Applied Materials’ fab2farm solar deployment model links communities, utilities and solar panel manufacturers to meet peak energy needs while generating billions in local economic development.

No, this isn’t another version of cold fusion. It's actually a pretty simple concept: a local entrepreneur builds a SunFab solar factory in the community. Glass and silicon enter one end of the factory; out the other emerges the world’s largest and most powerful solar panels. A local utility buys the panels and installs them in several, 5-20MW solar farms at distribution level, close to load.

It’s a tidy, self-sustaining ecosystem that yields leveraged benefits. 2,500* people get jobs. $400m go into the local economy annually instead of exporting energy dollars to purchase and burn fossil fuel. The utility meets their renewable portfolio goals and avoids or delays costly, new transmission that requires years to permit and build. And the ratepayer gets affordable, clean energy for decades. The side benefit, of course, is reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Ultimately, fab2farm is a win-win all the way around… and begs the bigger question: why send energy dollars overseas when that same investment can happen right here at home?

Check out how fab2farm works in communities like yours.

*Specifications based on IHS CERA modeling and Applied Materials estimates

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