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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : March/April 2006 : Green Building News

Green Building News

Bright Future
Advent Solar, a solar cell manufacturing company, seeks to go a step further in its environmental quest with its new headquarters.



Groundbreaking ceremonies were held recently for the new home of Albuquerque, N.M.-based Advent Solar, Inc., marking the beginning of construction of the Advent Solar research, development and manufacturing plant. The 87,596-square-foot facility, which will be situated in the Mesa del Sol planned community, has been designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

The plant is designed with 13,313 square feet of dedicated office space, and the manufacturing segment will comprise 74,283 square feet. The one-story building will have offices as well as space dedicated to the manufacture of Advent Solar’s breakthrough emitter wrap-through back contact photovoltaic cells and panels. As part of its efforts to obtain LEED certification, Advent Solar’s headquarters will feature use of their own solar panels for electric power generation. The headquarters will be built using concrete tilt construction, which contains a high percentage of recycled materials, and there will be a focus on the use of daylight and low-emitting materials in the construction. Skylights and large overhead glass doors will light the manufacturing spaces.

The Albuquerque-based architectural firm of Architects Dekker/Perich/Sabatini designed the Advent Solar building to achieve LEED certification for both the core and tenant improvements. Klinger Constructors, the general contractor, will implement practices to reduce off-site silting through uncontrolled run-off, and separation of construction waste for further recycling

“This building is a dream come true,” said Russell Schmit, president of Advent Solar. “We chose Mesa del Sol because they have room for us to expand, and we expect to expand pretty aggressively in the next few years.”

The facility’s grounds will feature accommodations for multiple bicycle riders and designated parking for hybrid fuel vehicles. All landscaping will be xeriscaped and will feature a cistern for water harvesting and efficient irrigation. The core and shell of the building is set to be completed by June. The entire structure is planned to be completed by summer, with Advent Solar expected to move in before the end of the year.

“Today is an exciting day, because the expansion of this company is tangible evidence of a stronger movement toward renewable energy sources in this country,” said U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM).  “This building exemplifies the ideal of an energy-efficient facility. The technology commercially offered by Advent … is another example of the powerful synergy that is driving economic development in New Mexico.”  

New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish expressed her satisfaction about the economic benefits Advent Solar would bring to the state with its new headquarters.

“Gov. Richardson and I are especially proud of Advent Solar’s decision to stay in Albuquerque, which represents one of the largest venture capital deals in New Mexico history,” Denish said. “Advent Solar is a leader in renewable energy, and I hope that this is the first of many such companies to build and expand here. The entire state of New Mexico will benefit from the jobs created by the company.”

Advent currently produces its photovoltaic cells at a manufacturing line situated in the University of New Mexico’s Manufacturing Technology and Training Center. The company has been assisted through the donation of a diffusion furnace donated by Intel to NextGen, which then made the furnace available to Advent Solar. The solar cells can be produced at a significantly lower cost than other conventional solar technology.

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