In Illinois, Manufacturing Investments Grow Clean Energy

With Illinois' goal of achieving zero-emissions by 2045, clean energy manufacturers have an increasingly critical role in energy transition efforts.

This week, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) joined local leaders and partners to announce Manner Polymers’ new manufacturing facility in Mount Vernon, IL. The company’s state-of-the-art facility there will manufacture an array of PVC compounds, including automotive PVC compounds for use in electric vehicles (EVs) and components for solar panels for the clean energy market.

Bolstered by the Reimagining Energy and Vehicles in Illinois (REV Illinois) incentive package, Manner Polymers plans to invest $54 million and create more than 60 jobs in the Southern Illinois region. The facility will be powered by a 15-acre solar field located on site. Manner Polymers was eligible through REV due to manufacturing EV component parts as well as parts used to make solar panels.

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Press conference announcing Manners Polymer investment into Illinois.  
(From left to right) Illinois Lt. Gov Juliana Stratton; Mt. Vernon Mayor John Lewis; Executive Director Jefferson County Development Corporation Tony Iriti; Lori Bhargava; State Senator Dale Fowler; Manner Polymers CEO Raj Bhargava; Intersect Illinois CEO Dan Seals; Illinois Governor JB Pritzker; Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Kristin Richards; Illinois State Representative Dave Severin; and Illinois State Senator Terri Bryant (Photo: Illinois DCEO)

“I couldn’t be prouder to announce that Manner Polymers has selected Illinois for their new 80,000 square foot, 100% solar-powered facility to manufacture electric vehicle PVC compounds, components for solar panels, and compounds for a variety of other industries,” said Governor Pritzker. “Thanks to a talented local workforce, the coordination of state and local officials creating policies to help grow our economy, and our newly created REV Illinois incentive program, companies like Manner Polymers are making their way to the Land of Lincoln to take part in our growing manufacturing ecosystem and clean energy revolution.”

Manner Polymers is one of North America’s largest flexible PVC compounders serving a broad range of markets including automotive, appliance, construction, telecommunications, industrial, medical and agriculture. A privately-held company based in McKinney, TX,  Manner Polymers has increased its footprint in North America since its inception in California more than 60 years ago.

The new Illinois facility will feature advanced manufacturing control systems, with production expected to begin in Fall 2025. Once in full operation, the new facility will increase the company’s production capacity by 100 million pounds — strengthening the domestic supply chain for a litany of industries.

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Photo: Adobe Stock/Bruce Leighty

“I am thrilled that Manner Polymers has chosen to locate in Mount Vernon, invest millions, and bring more than 60 new jobs to our great city,” said Mount Vernon Mayor John Lewis. “Welcoming Manner Polymers to Mt. Vernon was a truly collaborative effort that would not have been possible without Governor Pritzker’s support and commitment to creating jobs and boosting economic development in downstate communities.”

“Not only will we incorporate the most advanced manufacturing control systems available, but we will also produce substantially all of the electricity that we use,” said CEO of Manner Polymers, Raj Bhargava. “Our objective is to build the lowest cost, highest quality, most environmentally sustainable flexible PVC compounding plant in the world.”

“Illinois is proud to welcome Manner Polymers and its new state-of-the-art solar-powered facility to Illinois – which strengthens the state’s EV and solar ecosystem while bolstering the supply chain,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “Incentives like REV are helping Illinois usher in a carbon-free future by attracting businesses in the clean energy space, creating jobs and growing the clean energy economy.”

Manner Polymers worked closely with Intersect Illinois throughout the site selection process and ultimately chose the Jefferson County location because of its workforce, access to rail, and the state’s commitment to sustainability. “Jefferson County and Illinois beat out some tough competitors to win this project,” said Intersect Illinois CEO Dan Seals. “We are pleased to welcome Manner Polymers’ transformational manufacturing facility to our state.”

REV Illinois offers competitive incentives to expand or locate in Illinois for companies that manufacture EVs, parts or components for EVs and other clean energy sectors. Illinois recently expanded REV to include smaller manufacturers, increased the value of the credit for companies locating in underserved communities, and expanded renewal options.

Manner Polymers is the second recipient of a REV incentive package; details of the agreement can be found here.

In Elgin, Clean Energy Supplier Expanding

In March, the city of Elgin welcomed news of Flender Corporation planning to expand an existing manufacturing facility there. With a presence in Illinois since 1976, Flender is a leading manufacturer of mechanical gears for industrial applications, including wind turbines. This latest investment is expected to create 50 full-time jobs and retain 140 full-time jobs.

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Flender headquarters in Germany (Photo: Flender Corporation)

Flender’s drive components are installed in approximately 30% of wind turbines worldwide. The Flender Elgin Facility supplies and repairs gearboxes that are vital to the critical infrastructure needs of North America including renewable energy. Headquartered in Bocholt, Germany, Flender employs around 9,000 people worldwide.

“Flender has a long history of manufacturing and employing people in the greater Elgin area. With the support of Governor Pritzker and DCEO, we are able to continue here in Illinois and also locally support the transition to renewable energy. That makes us the partner of choice for a sustainable future,” said William Galdo, President and CEO of Flender Corporation.

As part of the expansion, the company received an Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credit, which stipulates a goal of making a significant capital investment and creating 50 jobs and retaining 140 jobs. In calendar year 2022, companies in the EDGE program committed more than $1 billion in investments in Illinois communities across the state.

As Illinois moves toward its goal of achieving zero-emissions by 2045, renewable energy such as wind and solar, as well as clean energy manufacturing play an increasingly critical role in economic development and energy transition efforts. Through EDGE and through expanded tax incentives through Reimagining Energy and Vehicles (REV), Illinois is poised to grow its clean energy manufacturing exponentially. In addition to supporting companies looking to expand or transition to electrification and other clean energy sectors, Illinois is also implementing a workforce development initiative through the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) to ensure the state’s workforce is prepared for the jobs of the future.