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Boeing Wins Contract to Build Solar Cells for Renewable Energy


ST. LOUIS, Aug. 28, 2006 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has signed a contract to provide 600,000 solar concentrator cells to SolFocus, Inc., a California-based renewable energy company that is developing renewable terrestrial energy alternatives.

“Companies on the cutting edge of the renewable energy revolution come to us because we are the world’s leading manufacturer of solar cells,” said Charles Toups, vice president of engineering for Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. “Our Spectrolab subsidiary has leveraged its expertise in space photovoltaic products to create solar cells with record-breaking efficiencies for Earth-based applications.”

Under the 12-month contract from SolFocus, Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., Spectrolab will build and deliver 600,000 solar concentrator cells that will be used to convert the sun’s rays into affordable electricity for homes and businesses. The cells produced for SolFocus will be capable of generating more than 10 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power about 4,000 U.S. homes. With the average solar cell efficiency above 35 percent at concentration, Spectrolab’s concentrator photovoltaic cells generate electricity at a rate that can be more economical than electricity generated from conventional, flat panel photovoltaic systems.

“Our mission is to deliver reliable solar-generated electricity at wholesale energy prices, and Spectrolab’s multi-junction concentrator solar cells are key to making that possible,” said Gary D. Conley, CEO of SolFocus. “Spectrolab’s cells will be integrated into our upcoming solar concentrator field test program and then into the first phase of active deployments.”

A significant advantage of concentrator systems is that fewer solar cells are required to achieve a specific power output, thus replacing large areas of semiconductor materials with relatively inexpensive optics that provide optical concentration. The slightly higher cost of multi-junction cells is offset by the use of fewer cells. Due to the higher efficiency of multi-junction cells used in the concentrator modules, only a small fraction of the cell area is required to generate the same power output compared to crystalline silicon or thin-film, flat-plate modules.
Spectrolab Inc., a wholly-owned Boeing subsidiary, is the leading supplier of high efficiency space solar cells and panels as well as solar concentrator cells. The Sylmar-Calif.-based company is working with a number of international and domestic manufacturers of solar concentrator systems. Spectrolab’s solar cells have delivered clean, renewable solar power into the grid through a 1-kilowatt solar concentrator test system in the Arizona desert for more than two years. Spectrolab’s terrestrial concentrator cells also are generating power in a 33-kilowatt, full-scale concentrator system in the Australian desert.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world’s largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $30.8 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government, and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; the world’s largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world’s largest satellite manufacturer; a foremost developer of advanced concepts and technologies; a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA’s largest contractor; and a global leader in sustainment solutions and launch services.


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