A solar breeder manufacturing complex -- billed as the first of its kind -- will open in Frederick County in about two years and will use solar cells to produce its own electricity, according to a spokeswoman for the company.
Martha Bozman, of the Solarex Corp. of Rockville, said the plant is in the design stage. Ground-breaking for the first of four buildings on a 95-acre site southwest of Frederick is set for this spring.
The facility will use the company's end-product -- photovoltaic cells made with silicon -- to create enough electricity to operate the manufacturing plant, said Bozman.
Bozman would not reveal the cost of the plant, but confirmed it is a "multimillion-dollar" privately financed project.
Solar cells on the plant's roof and facades are expected to generate energy needed to operate the assembly lines that will be turning out solar cells.
Photovoltaic cells originally were used to power communications satellites. The cells still are too expensive for home use today, but the Department of Energy is financing home-testing projects involving Solarex Corp., said Bozman.
By mass-producing the photovoltaic cells, Solarex hopes to achieve DOE's 1986 goal of dropping the $10-per-watt cost of the Solarex cells to 76 cents, according to Bozman.
"This is a growing industry and as the industry makes more, naturally we think of better ways to do it and cheaper ways to do it," said Bozman. "With volume comes the decrease in the cost per unit in this industry."