Solar Company Will Manufacture Photovoltaic Panels
Halifax, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory, North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), and Halifax County announced today the arrival of SWELECT Energy Systems LLC to Halifax County. The company intends to build a 155-person workforce and invest than $4.7 million at a manufacturing site at the Halifax Corporate Park and adjacent solar farm.
“This announcement is another example of North Carolina’s competitive business climate, talented workforce and strong economic comeback, especially in manufacturing,” said Governor McCrory. “SWELECT also fits in to our all-of-the-above energy strategy to contribute to our country’s energy independence and create jobs in North Carolina.”
The company is the U.S. unit of SWELECT Energy Systems Limited, a leading name in power electronics and renewable energy based in Mylapore, India. The publicly-held parent company (NSE: SWELECTES) has installed more than 1,700 solar farms since its founding in 1983. Its buyers include major corporations seeking to adopt solar energy systems into their operations.
“SWELECT’s choice of Halifax County highlights all the factors that have made North Carolina the Southeast’s #1 state for manufacturing jobs,”said Secretary Skvarla. “A competitive cost-structure, highly productive workers and ease of access to North American markets all will play a part in this company’s success.”
SWELECT Energy will hire 155 workers at its Halifax County operations. Positions will include skilled operators, quality control specialists, logistics personnel and others. Annual salaries will vary by position but will average at least $30,419.
“Producing modules at the Halifax County facility allows us to help North Carolina meet its renewable energy goals and further support the U.S. market,” said R. Chellepan, SWELECT’s managing director. “Our partnership with North Carolina and Halifax County presents the opportunity for SWELECT to leverage 30 years of world class experience in solar manufacturing. We are delighted that our products will be ‘Made in the USA.’”
SWELECT engaged Bridge Consulting to guide them through the establishment process. Bridge Consulting, a Raleigh firm specializing in Business Management Consulting and foreign direct investment, secured SWELECT’s site location and is providing ongoing business acceleration services.
“Halifax County is proud to welcome SWELECT Energy Systems to the Halifax Corporate Park,” commented Vernon J. Bryant, Chairman of the Halifax County Board of Commissioners. We look forward to a strong corporate partnership with SWELECT and the positive economic impact this project will have for the citizens of Halifax County,”
The project was made possible in part by a performance-based grant of up to $600,000 from the One North Carolina Fund. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. One NC grants also require and are contingent on financial matches from local governments. Halifax County will construct a manufacturing facility that will be leased to the company for its U.S. manufacturing operations.
Halifax County is fortunate to have a Board of Commissioners and community and business leaders who are committed to promoting economic growth in our community,” said Frank Avent III, Chairman of the Halifax County Economic Development Commission. Avent added, “This is another example of the strong collaborative efforts between our state and local economic development representatives and proof that Working Together Works.”
“Halifax County welcomes this leading-edge alternative energy company,” said N.C. Senator Angela Bryant. “We look forward to SWELECT Energy Systems becoming a valued member of our business community.”
“Congratulations to this global manufacturer of solar equipment on its choice of Halifax County for this exciting investment,” said N.C. Representative Michael H. Wray. “I am proud of the collaboration between our local and state economic development organizations and educational and utility partners for bringing this significant opportunity to us.”
Joining EDPNC and N.C. Commerce in supporting SWELECT’s new location are the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Halifax County, Halifax County Business Horizons, Inc., and Roanoke Electric Cooperative.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy Renewables has awarded $100,000 to the Center for Energy Education, a nonprofit organization whose mission encompasses research, education, and training workers for North Carolina's growing solar industry.
Created by the solar development company, Geenex, LLC, the nonprofit will be located at the former Halifax County Airport, near Roanoke Rapids, N.C., adjacent to the 20-megawatt Halifax Solar Power Project owned by Duke Energy Renewables.
The center's campus and 5,000 square-foot facility are under construction and expected to be complete in October 2016.
"Duke Energy Renewables' support will enable us to take several big steps this year," said Georg Veit, CEO of Geenex and chairman of the center's board of directors. "Energy education has to start early in students' lives, which leads to better professionals in the renewable energy industry."
A portion of the funds is dedicated to a partnership with North Carolina State University's The Science House, part of the school's College of Sciences. The Science House will locate its Eastern North Carolina satellite office at the center and will work with local schools to provide resources, programs and teaching materials to K-12 educators.
In addition, the center will expand a professional development training program for N.C. science teachers that helps them integrate energy education into the established science curriculum. With Duke Energy's gift, the middle-school program will expand to elementary and high school teachers.
"Duke Energy's investment will enhance the ability of the Center for Energy Education to motivate educators and students toward study and work in renewable energy," said Vernon Bryant, chairman of the Halifax County Board of Commissioners.
"Halifax County looks forward to partnering with the center in building a foundation of skilled, knowledgeable workers for this growing industry sector as well as opportunities for interactive experiences for residents and visitors through walking trails and energy exhibits," Bryant added.
The vision for the Center for Energy Education was based on a strong relationship with Halifax County and long-term commitment to the area.
"Through the solar projects we've built in Eastern North Carolina, we've brought jobs and economic development to the region," said Greg Wolf, president Duke Energy Commercial Portfolio and Duke Energy Renewables. "Many communities have welcomed us, and we're pleased to participate in a program that benefits these communities and will help local men and women gain the skills to qualify for jobs in the solar industry."
The donation also will be used to develop a quarter-mile walking loop that will connect the center to outdoor exhibits on campus.
"The concept of the walking trail was developed in response to community interest in more spaces for physical activity that can also be an inspiration for sustainability," said Veit. "We envision the walking loop as a first step toward further campus development that will incorporate healthy lifestyles, sustainable living and education about the positive impacts of renewable energy."
2015 marked a banner year for solar power in North Carolina as Duke Energy companies set a record for the amount of solar energy they added in the state -- more than 300 megawatts (MW), enough to power about 60,000 average homes. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says North Carolina should be second only to California for utility-scale solar construction in 2015.
Since 2011, Duke Energy Renewables has built 25 solar facilities in North Carolina, representing 270 MW and an investment of about $700 million.
News editors: map and solar photos available upon request
About Duke Energy Renewables
Duke Energy Renewables, part of Duke Energy's Commercial Businesses, is a leader in developing innovative wind and solar energy generation projects for customers throughout the United States. The company's growing portfolio of commercial renewable assets includes 18 wind farms and 35 solar farms in operation in 12 states, totaling about 2,500 megawatts in electric-generating capacity. Learn more at www.duke-energy.com/renewables.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
About the Center for Energy Education
The Center for Energy Education is a non-profit organization, located in Halifax County, N.C., whose mission is to be a cutting edge space where education, research and industry-leading professionals work and learn side by side. It is a space where the local community finds the inspiration and opportunities to become the energy professionals and advocates of sustainability of tomorrow. The Center will serve citizens throughout eastern North Carolina and beyond. Learn more at www.center4ee.org
The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority on Thursday approved a grant that will help a new Halifax County business emerge.
Halifax County will receive a $450,000 grant to put toward the reuse of a vacant building for Enfield Timber, according to a statement from Gov. Pat McCrory's office. The company will produce hardwood crane and logging mats and also introduce a sawmill.
Company’s growth and community support epitomizes “Working Together Works”
Roanoke Rapids, NC – At their annual meeting, Halifax County Business Horizons (Halifax Horizons), Inc. presented the 7th Annual “Working Together Works” award to Reser’s Fine Foods. In making the presentation, Phil Hux, Secretary of Halifax Horizons, highlighted the “amazing story a young man of 25 who started with 50 pounds of potatoes and a really great potato salad recipe. Five years later, Al Reser’s company was profitable and growing, and has continued to grow to what is today a billion dollar company.”
“Not only does Reser’s Fine Foods make a significant contribution to Halifax County’s economy, they are a great corporate citizen and support area community organizations, educational groups, and sports teams,” commented Hux.
Accepting the award on behalf of the company was Ken Braswell, General Manager, of the Reser’s Fine Foods facility in Halifax. “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of Reser’s Fine Foods.” Braswell added, “Our company has continued to grow here in Halifax County and we look forward to working with local officials, especially in the areas of education and workforce development.”
Reser’s Fine Foods is a family-owned company headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon. The company first opened its doors in Halifax County in 2001 making chilled salads. Reser’s Fine Foods has continued to grow and invest in Halifax County and in 2010, constructed the Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods tortilla manufacturing facility.
Frank V. Avent III, Vice President of Halifax Horizons and Chairman of the Halifax County Economic Development Commission, added, “Working together really does work and it is important that we recognize the companies, like Reser’s, that invest in our community.” Avent added, “We look forward to continuing to support the long-term growth and prosperity of Reser’s Fine Foods in Halifax County.”
Halifax County Business Horizons, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to provide funding for economic development projects in all of Halifax County. Private funds raised by the organization support business and industry recruitment and expansion and tourism development. Halifax Horizons provides critical financial support for projects that directly impact the success of our local tourism and economic development efforts.