You are here

Solfocus Puts the Focus on Mesa, Arizona

Solfocus opened a second manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona this week.  The new plant will produce glass reflectors, which are one piece of Solfocus’ CPV (Concentator Photovoltaic) arrays.  The 20,000 square foot expansion, combined with the company’s existing facility here, will produce two million reflectors a year, which equates to 30MW of solar power generation.  The company hopes much of this will stay in Arizona, where the sunny conditions are ideal for Solfocus’ arrays.


Several members of Mesa’s city leadership were on hand as well.  The city will benefit by the addition of 150 highly-skilled jobs when the facility is fully built out and by the estimated $14 million annual economic impact of the facility and local supplier base.  Because the arrays are heavy, Solfocus will work to sell and install them locally, thus avoiding high transportation costs.  Economic stimulus funds will help to spur demand for the arrays from commercial and industrial businesses, city governments, and utilities.  Because Solfocus’ arrays are designed to track the sun, they are not appropriate for residential use. 


Solfocus’ products consist of a primary mirror (made in Mesa), a smaller secondary mirror, an optical rod, and a triple-junction solar cell.  The sun’s energy is reflected from the mirrors through the optical rod and concentrated by 500 times onto the solar cell, providing efficiencies of 26% today.  By 2010, the company plans to offer 30% efficient arrays made possible by more effective cells and by optimizing the design of the mirrors. 


Semico Spin


Although we have been capable of producing electricity from the sun’s rays for decades, this industry still feels very young.  Most important, perhaps, is the level of enthusiasm inherent in this company.  In speaking with them at their new facility, it is apparent that they believe in what they are doing and enjoy it as well.  Several people there came from the semiconductor industry and are clearly happy to be there. 


Solfocus’ new plant provides a much-needed boost for the lagging solar energy market in Arizona.  The company’s arrays use 1/1,000th of the active PV material as compared to non-concentrating solar panels.  They produce electricity that is about the same cost per watt as traditional PV systems today, and they consume about half as much land to produce the same amount of power.  The main components of the arrays are glass, aluminum, and steel, which are all easily recycled at the end of the array’s life.  The new plant provides a win-win-win for Solfocus, Mesa, and Arizona.


Adrienne Downey

Director of Technology Research

Manufacturing, Photovoltaic and Solar Markets

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.