A privately held solar energy company with backing from Google's founders and other entrepreneurs plans to build in the Bay Area what it calls the world’s largest factory making solar cells.
Nanosolar Inc. says the plant would manufacture about 200 million solar cells a year with a total energy capacity of 430 megawatts, or enough to power more than 300,000 homes.
The company -- which got early stage financing from Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and is based in Palo Alto, California -- also plans to build a solar panel fabrication plant in Berlin, Germany.
The company on Wednesday said it arranged a $100 million financing package for the projects, including $75 million of preferred stock.
Nanosolar and other private solar companies such as Miasole and Heliovolt use a thin-film technology that requires only a fraction of the amount of silicon needed in conventional solar cells.
Solar power and other renewable energies such as wind, biomass, and geothermal comprise the fastest-growing energy sector. Global sales of green sources of energy more than doubled in 2005 to $39.9 billion, according to California research and publishing firm Clean Edge.
Sales could grow to $167.2 billion by 2015, according to Clean Edge.
California is pushing a $2.9 billion program to make the state one of the world’s largest producers of solar power.
The “California Solar Initiative” aims to add 3,000 megawatts of solar energy over 11 years through the installation of 1 million solar energy systems at homes, businesses, farms, schools and public buildings.
The state currently generates about 100 megawatts of solar electricity, enough to power about 80,000 homes.