Oregon’s goal is to become the top state in the U.S. for manufacturing solar energy equipment and capture a large chunk of the emerging green economy. Today’s world market for solar has an estimated value of $25 billion in annual sales, and the industry has grown by over 25 percent annually for the past 20 years. The state’s strategy is to establish an integrated “cluster” of solar manufacturing in Oregon, creating an economic base with more than $3 billion in annual gross sales by 2015, mostly as exports.
Oregon has made good progress toward its goal. The state has attracted SolarWorld, its first “anchor” business. The current output of the Hillsboro facility (100 MW/yr) is equal to 15 percent of total U.S. production, with expansion plans to increase output to 450 MW by 2013. Other Oregon-based solar manufacturers include: PV Powered (Bend), Sol-Reliant (Portland), Solaicx (Portland), Peak Sun Silicon (Millersburg), Sanyo Solar (Salem) and potentially others. By 2015 gross revenues for these companies are expected to grow to $1.5 billion annually, providing new jobs for 2,000-4,000 Oregonians with average salaries of over $40,000 per year.
Recruiting manufacturers is one link in a four-part solar market development chain. The other three links in this “solar chain” are the expansion of Oregon’s research and development capabilities, workforce development, and end use markets for solar energy.
- Source: The Oregon Global Warming Commission's 2009 Report to the Oregon Legislature