Despite recent legislative attacks that had one manufacturer threatening to pull up stakes, Arizona’s solar industry seems to be doing quite well. Global solar giant (and near stake-puller) Suntech Power remains committed to building a manufacturing plant in Goodyear, and recently, Governor Jan Brewer, Mayor Lyn Truitt and industry representatives announced the arrival of a solar manufacturing plant in the town of Surprise, AZ.
In Goodyear, Suntech will be making solar panels that convert sunlight directly into electricity. Coming to Surprise is a different sort of operation. Rioglass Solar is a Spanish company that manufactures curved glass sheets used for parabolic concentrators in solar thermal electric stations.
Just such a power plant, for which Rioglass will provide product, is set to be built by fellow U.S.-operating Spanish solar firm Abengoa Solar. Abengoa’s 280-megawatt Solana Generating Station will be located about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix in Gila Bend, Arizona.
Arizona is gaining a lot of attention from the global solar industry since Governor Brewer signed the state’s Renewable Energy Tax Incentives, offering property tax and income tax incentives to companies establishing or expanding headquarters or manufacturing facilities in Arizona.
Also, reports Environmental Leader, national publication and location adviser for site professionals, Business Facilities, named Arizona the “king” of solar power, giving the state a number-one ranking in both manufacturing and the state’s overall alternative energy industry.
In addition to solar specific incentives, Governor Brewer attributed Arizona’s cleantech growth to its skilled workforce and low payroll taxes. José Maria Villanueva, President and CEO of Rioglass Solar, noted that “[Arizona's] excellent workforce and rail-served land is the perfect fit for our new U.S. operations.”
The Rioglass Solar manufacturing facility will create 100 new green jobs in Surprise.