Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Mt. Iron lands new solar photovoltaic manufacturer

Posted 6/19/10

Silicon Energy, LLC announced today that it has obtained the financing necessary to implement its plans to produce its Cascade series solar photovoltaic modules at the Renewable Energy Industrial …

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Mt. Iron lands new solar photovoltaic manufacturer

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Silicon Energy, LLC announced today that it has obtained the financing necessary to implement its plans to produce its Cascade series solar photovoltaic modules at the Renewable Energy Industrial Park in Mt. Iron.

Senator David Tomassoni, chair of the Iron Range Resources Board, said “We are excited about the creation of new manufacturing jobs on the Iron Range in a growing new industry—renewable solar energy. The entire Iron Range legislative delegation and agency is proud that we were able to put together a financial incentive package to attract this established and proven manufacturer to our region.”

The plan was before the IRRB at its meeting on June 17. The Mt. Iron EDA reviewed the development agreement on June 16.

Jong Limb, President of Newport Partners, LLC and owner of Silicon Energy, said “We came to the Iron Range because Sen. David Tomassoni and Rep. Tom Rukavina passed incentive legislation for Minnesota consumers to install Minnesota-manufactured solar modules economically. Their leadership-and the recruitment and support from the City of Mt. Iron EDA-sold us on the Iron Range.”

Sen. David Tomassoni added, “I think the average citizen of the Iron Range will be most pleased to see a plant that uses our quality labor force to produce an environmentally sound product for Minnesotans. Most of these modules are now made in China and our goal is to make Minnesota a leading manufacturer to compete with offshore importers.”

Silicon Energy will build a plant that initially will produce approximately 2 mw of solar modules per year, with the capability to expand to 10 mw per year. The total installed solar capacity in Minnesota is 2 mw. Approximately 17-20 people will be employed at the manufacturing plant with more shifts to be added as demand increases.

Rep. Tom Rukavina said, “Our special legislation and IRRB assistance will create a union-built and union-staffed manufacturing plant that will employ American workers building solar modules for the Minnesota marketplace. It is exactly what we should be focusing on to attract new jobs to the Range.”

Silicon Energy will be installing approximately $3 million of capital equipment in a new 25,000 square foot manufacturing plant and providing $10 million of vendor financing for consumer sales of its product. Silicon Energy intends to break ground in July 2010, with a target to begin production in March 2011.

Jong Limb added that “We’ve been most impressed with the people of the Iron Range and look forward to helping them grow their communities with good manufacturing jobs.”

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Saturday, June 19, 2010