Durham-based Semprius Inc. has announced it will invest nearly $90 million to construct a solar cell manufacturing plant in Henderson, NC. Semprius must hire 10 workers by the end of 2011--and 230 by year-end 2015--to retain lucrative tax breaks and other incentives from the state. The average salary for the positions will be $45,565 a year (not including benefits).
The new factory will make patented high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) modules that concentrate the sun's energy more than 1,100 times onto the world's smallest solar cells; they are used in solar systems built by utility companies and similar businesses. Solar systems equipped with Semprius modules offer a viable option for achieving grid parity with fossil-based electricity.
According to Joe Carr, Semprius president and CEO, "as the adoption of clean energy continues to gain momentum in the U.S. and abroad, and demand for solar systems grows, the industry will look to innovators like Semprius and pioneer regions like North Carolina for viable solutions."
Two state incentives helped seal the deal. The One North Carolina Grant program awarded Semprius $600,000 (contingent upon approval of local incentives). Also, a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) makes Semprius eligible to receive a grant equal to 61 percent of the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of new jobs for each of the 11 years in which the company meets annual performance targets. If Semprius meets its targets, the JDIG could yield $3 million in maximum tax benefits.
"Semprius chose to launch this cutting-edge technology in North Carolina because our investments in education and worker training ensure that they can find the job-ready employees they need," said Gov. Bev Perdue. "We welcome them to North Carolina: the smart grid capital of the world."