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Once Flabeg gets up and running, there may be no stopping the German solar mirror maker.

The company hopes to begin manufacturing its parabolic curved mirrors later this year. Production, which was to get underway last fall, has been postponed due to equipment delays, says Lisa Metcalf, company spokesperson. The company currently stands at 50 and has plans to continue hiring as many as 250 more highly skilled workers this coming year.

Flabeg is bringing its promising solar technology to the region; concentrating solar power (CSP) is the only solar technology touted to achieve the level of output required to replace fossil-fuelled and nuclear power plants. The first nine plants of this type in the country, which are still in commercial service, were built between 1984 and 1991 in California's Mojave Desert and fitted with Flabeg mirrors.

The company is still in a start up phase, putting the finishing touches on the 209,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Clinton Commerce Park near Pittsburgh International Airport, says Metcalf.

"As with every startup, there are always delays to be expected. We will be up and running in 2010," she adds.

The facility will perform precision bending, tempering, silvering, coating, and final assembly. The mirrors will ultimately be used in the production of solar energy, placed on large swaths of arid land where they will focus sunlight onto a metal tube that is heated, delivering the oil to a turbine where steam is generated and electricity is produced.

A $9 million grant from the state helped bring Flabeg and the $30 million project in the region. The company is part of a fast growing solar-power industry in Western Pa. that includes Solar Power Industries in Rostraver, makers of solar cells and panels.

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Writer: Debra Diamond Smit
Source: Lisa Metcalf, Flabeg

2201 Sweeney Drive, Clinton Commerce Park
Pittsburgh, PA 15026
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