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Austin Energy, HelioVolt Installing First Locally Manufactured Solar Modules


AUSTIN, Texas--Austin Energy and Austin-based solar manufacturing company HelioVolt are collaborating on the first commercial install of locally manufactured solar modules in Austin on the roof of the non-profit Yellow Bike Project.

"The efforts by the Austin City Council, the City of Austin and Austin Energy to accelerate the clean energy industry in Austin are paying off by creating local jobs, local economic growth and local investments that stay in this community"

The project also is the first by Austin Energy to pilot and research leasing rooftop space at non-profit and commercial locations. Austin Energy will own the 12.4 kilowatt system that will deliver 16,125 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually into the grid. Austin Energy is paying Austin's Yellow Bike Project $350 a year for the leased space. The organization is a volunteer-based advocacy group for bicycling that operates community bike shops and teaches bike mechanics and maintenance.

The project also is a major step forward in the development of the burgeoning clean energy industry in Austin with the first solar modules installed in the city produced by a local solar manufacturing company.


 

"The efforts by the Austin City Council, the City of Austin and Austin Energy to accelerate the clean energy industry in Austin are paying off by creating local jobs, local economic growth and local investments that stay in this community," said Austin Energy General Manager Larry Weis.

HelioVolt's thin film solar modules are composed of Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS). CIGS solar material performs well in real world conditions such as off-angle installations, cloudy days, and module soiling. The glass laminate modules are compatible with existing industry installation tools and practices, and do not require complex and expensive custom mounting solutions.

"This project demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships," said HelioVolt Founder and Chairman B.J. Stanbery. "HelioVolt is proud to manufacture in Austin and to collaborate with Austin Energy on local solar energy distributed generation projects."

HelioVolt is a leader in thin-film CIGS technology. HelioVolt's factory, located just 8 miles south of the Yellow Bike Project, is a world-class manufacturing center for thin film solar modules using the company's proprietary CIGS technology platform. The modules at Yellow Bike are being installed by local solar installer Hill Country EcoPower (now known as Native).

Austin Energy has been a leader in helping to develop the solar and clean energy industry in Austin. Since starting its popular Solar Rebate Program in 2004, the number of solar contractors in Austin has grown from four to 43 with 13 added in just the past few months. Solar Austin, a local non-profit, estimates that the rebate program has helped create 600 jobs in the solar industry locally. The rebate program has helped incentivize more than 1,750 solar rooftop installations totaling 6.6 megawatts, enough to reduce the equivalent electricity use from conventional power plants by 1,320 average-size homes in Austin during the hottest part of the summer.

Austin Energy also has more than 40 municipal installations at libraries, recreation centers and other City of Austin facilities to help promote awareness of the benefits of clean, renewable energy from solar power in Austin.

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