Area Development
Franchise Investment Group has announced it will invest $18 million to establish a 180,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility in Blacksburg, SC, for its solar systems subsidiary Global Energy Franchise. The plant will make solar energy panels and accessories for both residential and business customers, and create 200 jobs over the next four years.

Desimber Rose Wattleton, president of both companies, said 50 acres at the site (formerly the home of a textile facility) will be dedicated to producing energy to help power the plant. A second building on the property, encompassing 150,000 square feet, could be converted to a R&D facility.

Global plans to hire primarily from the Blacksburg area. The company's job skills training will be conducted in partnership with the state's SC Works, SC Vocational Rehabilitation and Worklink.