Tennessee captures more green business

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 12:12pm

Tennessee landed its third major solar energy business investment in a year with officials announcing Thursday that St. Louis-based Confluence Solar would build a $200 million plant near Knoxville, creating 250 new jobs.

Alongside Gov. Phil Bredesen at a media event at the state Capitol, company executives said they have selected Clinton as the home of their new manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facility. It will produce mono-crystal silicon ingots for photovoltaic solar power generation.

“Once again, in spite of the clouds and rain outside, we can say the sun is shining on Tennessee," state Economic and Development Commissioner Matt Kisber said.

Bredesen has tried to turn Tennessee into a leader in green jobs and solar manufacturing. Last year, he attracted two, billion-dollar solar facilities to Tennessee — the Hemlock Semiconductor plant in Clarksville and the Germany-based Wacker Chemical plant near Chattanooga. State incentives played a role in attracting both Hemlock and Wacker. Both plants will produce polycrystalline silicon, a key component in solar panels.

In addition, Bredesen is spending federal stimulus money to start the Tennessee Solar Institute at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It will focus on basic science and industry partnerships to improve the affordability and efficiency of solar products. The state also is building the West Tennessee Solar Farm at the Haywood County industrial mega-site. One of the largest such installations in the Southeast, it will serve as a demonstration tool for educational, research and economic-development purposes.

"Two years ago, we set upon a strategy to make Tennessee a significant player in the solar industry," Bredesen said. "Since then, we've seen more than $2 billion in capital investment, more than a thousand jobs created, and, with the development of the Solar Farm and existing solar companies located in West Tennessee, we have truly created a statewide solar footprint. The announcement today by Confluence Solar is further proof that Tennessee is recognized as a leader in renewable energy and that a new economic engine is emerging in our state."

"Tennessee's nationally recognized business climate and their focused solar strategy, along with Clinton's close proximity to Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the new Solar Institute, made Tennessee the perfect location for our facility," said Tom Cadwell, CEO and co-founder of Confluence Solar. "The number of solar industry leaders establishing operations here and the intellectual energy surrounding solar technology provides our company, current investors, and future investors with the confidence that Tennessee is the place Confluence Solar needs to be."

The state offered tax credits and infrastructure development funding to bring the company to Tennessee, but Kisber said he could not estimate the value of the incentives.

3 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 1/22/10 at 10:45

Thank you VP Gore for helping TN. You have always kept TN on top. But, I course the GOP will not give you credit for all that you do for us. Thank you for looking forward many years ago in giving us the best roads in the nation. Thank you for keeping dangerous nuclear waste from passing thriugh TN. But, as you know we are the road way for it now, thanks to Bush. Thank you for keeping a nuclear plant out of Middle TN. I would like for you to write a book and tell the ungrateful people of TN how you make their life better and safer.

By: dnewton on 1/24/10 at 12:48

I don't think Atomic Energy Workers are considered to have green jobs. Abortion providers are probably considered green workers though.

By: nashmusic2244 on 1/24/10 at 1:39

Well, here is another prime example of why companies choose to expand their operations to the U.S. and Tennessee in this case.

[The state offered tax credits and infrastructure development funding......]

Tax credits and other incentives are the key items these companies look for and desire. The government is still using our tax dollars by way of these credits, but the gamble is that the companies will create jobs, stimulate the respective area's economic vitality and many more positives.

There is no quantifiable evidence or data that these companies are remotely interested when state government attempts to amend current laws (i.e.) driver's license exams to persuade companies.

Last year's attempt to add German to the list of other languages when taking the driver's license exam would have set a terrible precedence. Volkswagen wasn't remotely interested that German was being considered as yet another language for examinations.

According to a VW corporate communicationa executive n Herndon, VA., tax incentives, credits and assistance regarding the developable land were priorities and consumed the discussions.

Support HB 262 and SB 63 in this year's Tennessee legislative session making English the sole language when taking the exam.

Parents, grandparents and friends deserve the peace of mind knowing that a legally licensed driver can understand the signs on our roads.

Don't wait for a phone call to tell you that a loved one was hurt or killed in an accident because the other driver couldn't understand what "merge ahead", "roads slippery when wet", or any other safety message meant.

Please support these bills at www.proenglishusa.blogspot.com

Thanks,

Eddie Garcia