6 January 2011

W Solar to move HQ and R&D facilities and site production in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has announced that privately owned W Solar Group Inc of Chatsworth, outside Los Angeles, CA, USA, which has developed copper indium gallium (di)sellenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic panel technology, will receive up to $28m in Enterprise Zone tax credits from the state Department of Commerce to help it to establish a manufacturing facility in the state and to relocate its corporate headquarters and R&D facilities to Dane County. W Solar was founded in 2009 and currently has less than 20 staff, all involved in R&D.

The firm is currently considering specific locations for the new site. “W Solar choosing to locate its manufacturing facility in Wisconsin is a testament to the hard work we’ve done over the past eight years to build a strong sector of our economy around clean energy and high-end manufacturing,” says Doyle. “This investment will create new business opportunities and jobs at suppliers throughout the region,” he adds.

The firm expects to open its new headquarters and R&D facilities in first-half 2011 and to begin manufacturing in 2012. Conditions for the state incentives include targets for creating jobs in 2013 and 2014 prior to full-capacity production in 2015, when W Solar expects the number of full-time jobs created to reach 620 (mostly in production). Capital investment should amount to more than $300m. The firm says that the projected global market for solar panels is expected to grow more than tenfold over the next decade, and that it expects about half of its production to be exported to overseas markets.

“W Solar Group was attracted to Wisconsin early in our search for a project location,” says W Solar’s president & CEO Chris Hamrin. “We are impressed with the high-quality workforce, extensive supply chain, and the commitment to producing world-class products,” he adds.

The firm has also made a commitment to buy materials and services from Wisconsin suppliers in an effort to create or retain additional jobs.

Wisconsin claims to be a national leader in solar installations, with firms assisted by the Department of Commerce previously including Cardinal Glass, 5N Plus, PDM Solar, ZBB Technologies, and Helios.

Last October, 5N Plus Inc of Montreal, Canada, which provides high-purity metals (including cadmium, indium and selenium) as well as related II-VI compounds such as cadmium sulphide, said that its US subsidiary 5N Plus Corp of DeForest, WI had been awarded $500,000 in funding from the State Energy Program of Wisconsin to support an expansion of its solar modules recycling and its manufacturing of specialty compounds for thin-film PV applications.

Tags: CIGS

Visit: www.wsolar.com

Visit: www.wisgov.state.wi.us

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