Saint-Gobain, the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of building materials, announced today that it plans to invest $30 million in its Plantation Street facility to expand the production of plastic materials used as components in flexible and rigid solar modules. These solar modules convert sunlight into usable electrical power.
The first phase of expansion, which is scheduled to begin this summer, will include the conversion of 30,000-square-feet of warehouse space for new manufacturing lines, installation of new production equipment, building of new offices and storage space, and other site improvements.
Saint-Gobain's Director of Photovoltaics Julia DiCorleto says the company expects to create approximately 50 new jobs by 2011, depending on market conditions. There are currently 57 employees at the Plantation Street site.
In its ongoing effort to continue to attract, retain and grow the City's tax base, the City's Economic Development Division worked with Saint-Gobain and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development to identify opportunities and partnerships. Saint-Gobain will apply for certification through the Massachusetts Economic Development Incentive Program and is seeking local tax relief, investment tax credits, and workforce training grants.
"Renewable energy is a priority for Saint-Gobain. We are investing to ensure that our manufacturing capabilities grow to meet the needs of this expanding market and of the solar energy market in particular," said DiCorleto. "We chose Worcester for this project for several reasons, including the City's infrastructure, access to the area's highly skilled workforce, a productive and positive relationship with the City and State representatives who value the green industry, and its proximity to our state-of-the-art research and development center in Northborough."
"Saint-Gobain has a long history here in our City, and their commitment to grow their operations here speaks volumes of their confidence in our community," said City Manager Michael V. O'Brien. "We are thrilled that Saint-Gobain's and the City's economic development goals are aligned and will focus on preserving our rich manufacturing industry through the green technology movement."
Engineering for the expansion is currently underway, and equipment installation could begin as soon as this summer, with the new manufacturing line operation in early Fall.
"We're pleased that Saint-Gobain has chosen Worcester for this major investment in the Commonwealth's economy," said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. "We look forward to continuing to work with Saint-Gobain and the City of Worcester as the project moves forward and creates new opportunities for job growth and the clean energy industry in Massachusetts."