The new Solar Silicon Forest

The new Solar Silicon Forest

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HILLSBORO — When SolarWorld of Germany announced last month that it would take over an old chip factory abandonded by Komatsu Silicon America and start turning out solar silicon wafers, you could almost hear the cheer emanating from every corner of Silicon Forest. And it was about more than the 1,000 new jobs.

Thanks to an ever-growing demand for alternative energy, the semiconductor skills of Silicon Forest workers and the still relatively cheap electricity and clean water that drew semi companies to Oregon in the first place are looking good to solar manufacturers looking for places to expand.

Jim Thayer, senior economic development manager at the Portland Development Commission, says he’s talking to several other photovoltaic manufacturers. As he puts it: “It’s a new era.” 


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