SolarWorld has reached its goal of employing 1,000 people at its Hillsboro manufacturing plant by 2011 and overhauling its operations in Camarillo, Calif. The company reports it now has the equivalent of four factories in Hillsboro, after adding a automated panel assembly factory in a new building.
Germany-based SolarWorld transformed the former semiconductor plant site in Hillsboro into the largest solar manufacturing plant in the Americas. The plant opened in 2008 with the expectation of employing 1,000 people to meet growing demand for solar power.
“Our goals here were straightforward: to tool up annual production capacity to 500 megawatts at the U.S. sites and hire 1,000 workers in Hillsboro by 2011,” said Bob Beisner, managing director and vice president of the U.S. operations. “We have done just exactly that on the very schedule we laid out. But the feat – rare in these days of off-shoring and industrial recession – has been enormous, requiring the combined passions and dogged commitment of our many partners and employees.”
The company’s 1000th’s worker is 28-year-old Angela Beed of Portland, who grew up in Cove, Oregon. She was hired as a maintenance technician in the wafer-cutting plant.
SolarWorld employs 250 people in Camarillo. In mid- 2006, the company acquired the assets of Shell Solar, featuring the Camarillo plant and its lineage of solar pioneering dating to 1975. In 2007, the company bought the former chip factory in Hillsboro, where it could establish much bigger operations to produce silicon crystal, solar wafers, photovoltaic cells and solar panels.