General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) recently announced that it was looking for a home for a new, $600 million thin-film photovoltaic manufacturing plant. Colorado, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Arizona and Oregon are among the suitors that have shown interest in becoming home to what—at 400 megawatts of annual production—promises to be one of the largest PV manufacturing facilities in the U.S.
When the company announced its new photovoltaic intentions on April 7, it said it planned to name the location of the new plant over the next 100 or so days. While GE is still well within that time-range, states and cities are already lining up to vie for the plant and the 400 jobs it could create.
Most recently and perhaps most publicly, the entire bipartisan Colorado Congressional Delegation to U.S. Congress joined Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and leaders of state’s higher education institutions in signing a letter to GE Vice President of Renewables Vic Abate, urging GE to consider Colorado as the ideal home for its new manufacturing facility.
“GE would find a fruitful partnership with the State of Colorado,” the group wrote. “As you know, we are already home to several innovative solar companies in Colorado, including the company GE recently acquired, Primestar Solar.”
But Colorado isn’t the only competitor.
Arizona, which recently landed the 250-megawatt First Solar Inc., production facility is also likely to push for the GE plant.
“We’re very interested but as a matter of policy we don’t comment on it,” said Bennet Curry, director for business attraction for the Arizona Commerce Authority. “It’s a highly competitive business.”
The state also has strong tax incentives to attract renewable energy companies like Solon and Suntech, both of which have opened manufacturing facilities in the state, he said.
Upstate New York also has hopes of locating the facility there.
"I would like to think because of where they're located, that the capital region would be in the mix," Dennis Brobston, executive director of the Saratoga Economic Development Corp. told The Post Star. GE’s corporate headquarters is in Connecticut.
For its part, GE has a number of criteria it’s looking for, said spokesperson Emily Caruso.
“Proximity to our technology development; Availability to technical talent; Access to existing GE infrastructure; and Proximity to our major customers,” she said, are what the company is looking for in a location.