For the first time ever, photovoltaic solar cells are going into mass production. In approximately three weeks, at the Bekaert ECD Solar System plant just north of Detroit, Mich., the company will begin producing three miles of solar cells every day.

What does that mean? On a micro level, it means solar cells are going to be mass produced and more cost-competitive with other energy systems. For building contractors, this equates to a real-world, cost-effective, clean-energy alternative in homes and commercial real estate.

On a macro level, this announcement shows real momentum toward clean renewable resources. The roll-to-roll solar cell manufacturing equipment is 300 feet long (the size of a football field) and can produce nine miles of solar material in three days. This is a five-fold increase over previous manufacturing systems that also increases quality in the finished product.

In one calendar year, this single facility will produce 30,000 kilowatts of photovoltaic material. Production begins in June 2002.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to an ECD spokesperson please contact Michael Coates at (408) 399-9081 or Nate Purpura at (805) 541-0477.