Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Solar Mirror Manufacturing Plant Nearing Completion Near Pittsburgh International Airport

A new plant to manufacture high-precision parabolic mirrors for the solar energy industry is nearing completion in Clinton Commerce Park near Pittsburgh International Airport.

The 209,000-square-foot plant being built by Flabeg GmbH of Germany is scheduled to open in the fall and employ as many as 300 people to make mirrors used to generate electricity at large-scale solar power plants also known as mirror farms or solar farms.

Flabeg Solar MirrorThe plant is scheduled to open and begin deliveries by the end of 2009. It will have a capacity of up to 1 million parabolic curved mirrors annually. Flabeg has said it already has orders for more than 700,000 mirrors.

The plant is Flabeg's first solar mirror facility in the U.S. Its other facility in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania, manufactures mirror glass for automobiles. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell last year delivered a $9 million grant to help pay for the $30 million project.

Flabeg joins a growing solar power-related industry in Western Pennsylvania. Another company, Solar Power Industries of Rostraver, PA, recently announced plans to expand its production of solar cells in the former Sony plant in Westmoreland County.

The solar energy sector contributes to the Pittsburgh region's status as the U.S. leader in overall energy technology industry rankings with strengths in manufacturing and research functions in the solar, wind, coal, nuclear and other alternative energy industries.

- Thomas Buell, Jr.

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