Solar firm may create 1,100 jobs

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Solar firm may create 1,100 jobs

Columbus Dispatch – The battered Mansfield-area economy, hurt by declines in the auto industry, is poised to gain more than 1,000 jobs that also would help meet the growing demand for solar energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy said yesterday it is offering a $275 million loan guarantee to Calisolar Inc. to locate a solar silicon plant in Ontario, just west of Mansfield in Richland County.

Calisolar, a California-based company that supports the alternative-energy industry, plans to invest $752 million to create a manufacturing operation that would include a former General Motors stamping plant and new construction.

Plans call for creating nearly 1,100 permanent jobs and up to 1,000 construction jobs. The estimated annual payroll would be $37 million, representing an average base wage of at least $45,000 a year.

“It’s extremely important, not just for Ontario. It will bring hope to the area,” said Ontario Mayor Larry Collins.

Negotiations to take over the plant are nearly complete between Calisolar and the federal government’s Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, which took control of the plant in March. Efforts to bring Calisolar to Ohio began last year.

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