Madison plant will recycle coating from solar panels

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

5N Plus Corp. of Montreal will open a manufacturing and recycling center for metal coatings used in the production of thin-film solar panels.

The $4.3 million facility, which was supported by a $500,000 low-interest loan from the state of Wisconsin, is expected to be fully operational by March or April, plant manager John Schuster said.

5N Plus, which supplies metals used to coat the thin-film solar panels, has a contract to supply Abound Solar, a Loveland, Colo., company that plans to open solar panel factories in Indiana and expand a factory in Colorado that already makes thin-film solar panels.

Last month, Abound received a $400 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy to support the expansion. Abound also announced a private equity investment of $110 million to support its growth.

The company plans to open a solar panel factory inside an 800,000-square-foot building in Tipton, Ind., that was once intended to build transmissions for Chrysler cars.

5N Plus chose the DeForest area for a new facility because of its central location and proximity to the Cardinal Glass plant in Portage, where the glass can be recycled, Schuster said.

Cardinal Glass' Solar Technologies division supplies glass and other products for thin-film solar panels, with work taking place at factories in Mazomanie and Portage.

Cardinal and 5N Plus are among suppliers in four states that are expected to employ 1,600 people as a result of the Abound Solar manufacturing expansions in Colorado and Indiana, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.