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W Solar Plans $300M Plant in Wisconsin

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.

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