The California state government has reported that Chinese PV maker China Sunergy (CSUN) has entered into an agreement to lease property in a business park on a former Air Force base near Sacramento for a new solar PV module manufacturing facility.
CSUN plans to build a “fully automated”, 140,000 square foot factory with the capacity to produce 400 MW of solar PV modules annually, and to begin producing modules May 2017. And despite being fully automated, the factory in McClellan Park will employ 200 manufacturing workers.
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) says that CSUN looked at sites on the East Coast and Midwest, but chose California due to the skilled labor, savings on logistics, and California’s support for renewable energy.
The new factory has already benefitted from assistance by local and state government. Sacramento authorities assisted with providing and developing a workforce study, introductions were made with Sacramento State’s engineering program, while GO-Biz identified several state incentives which are “potentially worth millions”.
Additionally, Sacramento municipal utility SMUD will provide the factory with a special electricity rate meant to encourage local economic development.
CSUN was one of the first Chinese PV makers to build manufacturing overseas, a process which began before the imposition of U.S. import duties on Chinese solar cells in 2012. This new California factory will join CSUN production facilities and joint venture manufacturing in Turkey, South Korea and Vietnam.
CSUN has struggled financially in the past, and was de-listed from the NASDAQ exchange in March 2016. It is currently traded as an over-the-counter (OTC, or “pink sheet”) stock.