Sun Devils Welcome Suntech Power: Plant to Have 30 MW of Capacity By Late 2010

suntech_logoTake that Chuck Schumer.

Chinese solar power company Suntech Power Holdings has announced plans to build a plant in the greater Phoenix area that will employ 75 people when it opens.

The plant is lated to come online in the third quarter of 2010 and will have a capacity of 30 MW of PV panels.

The announcement should blunt some of the criticism, notably by Sen. Schumer, D-NY, that China is supplying the American renewable energy market with products made by Chinese workers. Schumer was upset by news that foreign cleantech companies were getting American stimulus funds.

Suntech’s announcement makes no mention of an application for stimulus funds. The company is applying for a 30 percent manufacturing tax credit under the federal stimulus program.

The release does not specify the cost of construction, but BusinessWeek estimates the 80,000 to 100,000 square foot facility will run to the tens of millions of dollars.

Suntech Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Zhengrong Shi said:

This is the first step in what I see as a long-term, strategic investment in the North American market. Over the last two years we have grown our U.S. team to over 60 employees.

With the price of solar panels falling sharply during the recession, the plant will give Suntech an edge by reducing the costs and time of getting the panels to market.

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Suntech has been making itself comfortable in the American Southwest for a while now, providing 1.6 MW of panels for an Arizona State University project in fall of 2008, and 14 MW of panels for Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base.

The company’s announcement praised ASU, which is after all home of the Sun Devils, for its solar research and the state for its Renewable Energy Standard, which requires 15 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025.

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