Oregon Welcomes Yet Another Solar Maker, Sanyo

Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) has done it again: SANYO North America said today that it will build a new $80-million, 70MW solar manufacturing facility in Salem, Ore. Construction is slated to begin next month and the plant is expected to open in October 2009, ramping up to full capacity by April 2010.

Talk about a successful tax incentive. The BETC, whose provisions offer, among other things, tax credits to renewable energy companies for up to 50 percent of capital investments of as much as $20 million, helped attract three other solar manufacturers to the state in 2007. German SolarWorld kicked off the trend in March of that year, moving its production a matter of miles from Vancouver, Wash., to Hillsboro, Ore., to take advantage of the tax perks. SolarWorld was joined by Santa Clara, Calif.-based Solaicx in June 2007 and by Carlsbad, Calif.-based Peak Sun Silicon the following November.

SANYO says that while the BETC did play a role in its decision, the state’s reputation as hub for a diverse range of semiconductor companies was a factor as well. With a developed industry, the company can expect to find a suitable, and often already trained, workforce for its new plant. SANYO says its new facility will bring 200 new permanent jobs to the state when operating at full capacity.

Job growth is a key reason that the state has poured it’s support behind the BETC and its sister program, that Residential Energy Tax Credit. In a study of credits allocated in 2006, ECONorthwest found that over the next 15 years projects would create nearly 2,100 new jobs, boost economic output by $178 million and cut energy costs by $60 million.