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W Solar Plans $300M Plant in Wisconsin

W Solar Plans $300M Plant in Wisconsin Posted on:

Thin-film solar technology developer W Solar Group will relocate its headquarters from California to Wisconsin, where it will build a $300 million factory. The company will receive $28 million in state incentives for the project, which is expected to create 620 jobs when the new plant ramps up to full capacity by 2015. W Solar has developed a copper-indium-gallium-sellenium (CIGS) solar panel technology, which offers lower cost per watt solar panels. W Solar was awarded Enterprise Zone tax credits from the state’s Department of Commerce for the company to establish its manufacturing facility, along with its corporate headquarters and research and development facilities, in Dane County, WI. Wisconsin’s Department of Commerce has previously helped solar companies including Cardinal Glass, 5NPlus, PDM Solar, ZBB Technologies, and Helios. Officials believe the solar industry is on track for a tenfold growth in the next decade, while around half of the new factory’s output could be destined for overseas markets. W Solar Group, which will move from its current HQ in Chatsworth, outside Los Angeles, is now considering several locations in Wisconsin for its new plant, which will is slated to begin production in 2012. Conditions for the state incentives include targets for creating jobs in 2013 and 2014 prior to full production a year later. The company has also made a commitment to purchase materials and services from Wisconsin suppliers in an effort to create or retain additional jobs in the state. “We are impressed with the high quality workforce, extensive supply chain, and the commitment to producing world-class products. Making Wisconsin our home is the right decision, and W Solar’s goal is to be a great addition to the Wisconsin economy. Wisconsin’s role as a leading manufacturing state with hard-working people also contributed to our decision to make the Badger State the place to grow our company,” said Chris Hamrin, president and CEO of W Solar Group.

Wisconsin ED May Go Public-Private

Wisconsin ED May Go Public-Private Posted on:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who took office this week, wants to abolish the state Department of Commerce and replace it with a public-private economic development agency, according to a report in the Superior Telegram. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation would be run by a 12-person board  chaired by Walker and filled with his appointees. “Think about this corporation kind of like being the local Chamber of Commerce,” Walker told the Superior Telegram. “We need to have an entity that’s about promoting Wisconsin, promoting jobs, telling the world and everybody here in the state that we’re open for business and what we can do to help make that possible.” Wisconsin formed a similar partnership in the early 1980s called Forward Wisconsin, but the initiative was phased out a few years ago due to lack of donations from the private sector and a focus on other economic development tools. Gov. Walker’s proposal would either eliminate regulatory functions now held by the state Department of Commerce or move these functions to other agencies. The governor also wants to require employees currently working in Commerce to reapply for their jobs. Gov. Walker’s proposal is modeled after a similar public-private partnership in Indiana. Officials there say using private money has given them more freedom to travel abroad and host receptions to recruit potential employers.

2010 Economic Development Deal of the Year Awards

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Gold Award With a $3.6-billion expansion of Samsung’s semiconductor fabrication facility in Austin, TX, the capital of the Lone Star State has put everyone on notice that it intends to remain the top U.S. hub in the burgeoning microchip sector. Project Title: Samsung Austin Semiconductor Expansion Entered By: Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce Our blue-ribbon panel of industry experts had to make some tough choices when assessing the nominees for Business Facilities’ 2010 Economic Development Deal of the Year Awards. This year’s competition—our largest field of contestants to date—featured 24 top-flight projects from 20 states. A bevy of major high-tech initiatives went head-to-head with locations enjoying a robust resurgence in traditional manufacturing, including the largest single investment in steel production in years. The judges have spoken: this year’s top honors go to Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Regional Economic Development, Inc. of Missouri and Louisiana Economic Development. The $3.6-billion expansion of Samsung Austin Semiconductor (SAS) in Texas has been selected as our 2010 Economic Development Deal of the Year Gold Award winner. The semiconductor fabrication plant project was submitted by Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, which also credited the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism and the City of Austin for their help in sealing the deal. SAS announced in June plans to expand its 12-inch semiconductor fabrication plant in Austin. The project is expected to create up to 7,600 direct and indirect jobs for the Austin Metro Area. The new investment in the Austin fab builds on $5.6 billion the Korean tech giant has previously committed to the SAS facility over the past 14 years, bringing the total investment to approximately $9.2 billion. The company said it would increase employment at the plant from 1,000 to 1,600 by 2011, with annual payroll rising from $70 million to $112 million during the same period. Annual operations at SAS currently inject more than $800 million into the area economy annually; when ripple effects are included, SAS is responsible for more than $1.4 billion each year in local economic activity and $296 million in total worker earnings. Employment at SAS represents more than 13 percent of the Austin, TX area’s technology production base. Almost 3,000 construction workers will be employed in the $633-million build-out of the fab expansion. The expanded semiconductor fab will produced 45-nanometer and below microchips for Samsung’s System LSI business. The plant currently produces a variety of NAND Flash memory chips. “Forty-five nanometer and below advanced logic applications are in high demand and respective markets are expected to… …Read More…

Louisiana: State of the Year

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Refusing to bow to a plague of disasters—including a hurricane, a huge oil spill and a national economic downturn—Louisiana responds with a diverse, innovative growth strategy.

Oklahoma Corporate Moves

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Construction Begins on ADA Tech Park in Ardmore A public-private partnership between the Ardmore Development Authority (ADA) and ATP Investments, LLC began construction this month on a 47-acre technology park in Ardmore, OK. The park will be located on the west side of Ardmore, approximately 1 mile from Interstate 35. The first phase of construction will consist of putting in the initial stages of infrastructure to the park, aesthetic improvements to the site and the construction of a 5000 square foot building that will be used as a business incubator. The incubator will house a 500 ft. clean room. There will be eight lots ranging is size from approximately 2.5 acres to 4.5 acres. “This will give Ardmore a tangible product we can show to prospects we are recruiting,” states Brien Thorstenberg, ADA vice president. “This is attractive to high tech companies particularly if they need to reserve funds for operations rather than incurring a capital expense. Sites will be available for those companies in position to construct and own their facility,” Thorstenberg adds. “This park also gives Ardmore the ability to leverage the R&D base that already exists in Ardmore with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Amethyst Research, Inc. and Southwest Silicon Technologies.” Flanders Now Operating at Full Speed The Flanders Corporation is operating at full production in their manufacturing and distribution facility at the New Horizons Industrial Park (a half mile east of Interstate 35 just south of Highway 70). Flanders announced their decision to locate in Ardmore, January of this year, and began production in April. They anticipated hiring 100 employees in their first year of operation, but have hired approximately 220 at this point. They plan to have 400 employees at full production. “We are very pleased with our new location in Ardmore,” states Ron Abel, Flanders director of East Coast operations. “We have an excellent work force, and the location of Ardmore has allowed our company to consolidate some of our operations to increase our competitive advantage. We have been pleased with the assistance we have received from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Southern Oklahoma Technology Center, the Ardmore Development Authority, and other state and local organizations.” The Flanders Corporation based in Washington, NC designs, manufactures and markets the highest quality filter, clean room, and containment filtration systems. The Ardmore facility manufactures and distributes air filtration products for both residential and commercial applications. Brien Thorstenberg, Ardmore Development Authority vice president, adds that Ardmore is fortunate have Flanders in our community. “During a year when… …Read More…