Recently, Spire Solar and UNICOR (Federal Prison Industries, Inc.) entered into a non-exclusive Teaming Agreement to supply PV systems to the Federal Government.
Accoding to Spire’s Steve Hogan, Spire established a module production line at Otisville (NY) Federal Prison in 2008. At that facility, about 100 inmates are employed in production of about 25 MW of PV modules. All module capacity of Unicor can only go to federal facilities or systems funded by federal dollars.
“The inmates fabricate the modules after being trained by Spire,” said Hogan. “The modules produced will be used by the federal prison system, the Department of Justice and other federal facilities. It’s a great program, and hopefully we’re training for the future.”
For the Otisville facility, UNICOR converted a building within the facility that had been previously used for cable assembly for the Department of Defense.
Hogan says the plan is to expand to a similar federal prison facility in Oregon early in 2010. Production at the Oregon facility is expected to be double of that produced at the Otisville, NY facility.