Aurora, CO Wins Competition for GE’s Solar Panel Plant
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has announced that Aurora, CO has landed Â the Â General Electric thin-film solar panel plant that was the focus of an intense competition between several states. Hickenlooper made the eagerly awaited announcement at the Aurora Economic Development Councilâ€™s annual dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Denver.
GE will retrofit and expand a 200,000-square-foot former Lâ€™Oreal Worldwide warehouse in the Majestic Commercenter. near Interstate 70 and Tower Road. The company plans to start producing panels next year at the $300-million PrimeStar Solar plant, which will employ 355 people. The company hopes to double the buildingâ€™s size within the next two years.
â€śWith a PrimeStar fabrication plant here, you see a really strong cluster of solar companies emerging in Colorado,â€ť Christine Shapard, executive director of the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, told the Denver Post. â€śGE wouldnâ€™t have picked Colorado if we hadnâ€™t had the workforce and the talent that they need. That differentiates Colorado from many other states.â€ť
GE is the biggest name in aÂ growing groupÂ of major solar companies calling Colorado home, including Longmont-based Abound Solar, Thornton-based Ascent Solar Technologies and Denver-based Abengoa Solar, which is owned by a Spanish company. The state also is home to the SolarTAC research park in Aurora.
GE announcedÂ in April it is investing $600 million inÂ solar technology; it purchases Arvada-based PrimeStar Solar Inc., a thin-film solar panel manufacturer. GEâ€™s panelÂ ouput at the new plantÂ will be based on product development from PrimeStar and could be the largest such PV facilityi n the country. GE said the new facility would eventually generate up to 400 megawatts of annual electricity.