POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y., Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A Chinese solar-energy product maker will convert an abandoned New York IBM Corp. chip-making plant into its U.S. manufacturing headquarters, officials said.
Linuo Solar Group Co. of Jinan, China, 250 miles south of Beijing, plans to hire up to 1,000 people by 2014 and invest $100 million in the operation, which will make solar panels, solar cells and solar hot-water systems, international development Director Bevan Zhang said at a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., news conference Friday.
The 17-year-old company, which had $1.3 billion in revenue in 2010 and employs 13,000 people globally, said it bought the million-square-foot, five-building former IBM semiconductor research-and-development site on 157 acres in East Fishkill, N.Y., for $4.5 million in part because the exurban Hudson Valley region north of New York City is fast-becoming a solar energy hub.
But a promise of up to $6.4 million in state and local incentives was critical, Zhang said.
The company -- which also looked in Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas and Utah -- will be required to hire at least 150 people next year and 600 by 2014 -- and retain those jobs for at least a decade -- to qualify for up to $6 million in state incentives, Empire State Development regional Director Aimee Vargas told the Poughkeepsie Journal.
The August bankruptcy filing by Solyndra LLC, a California solar-panel maker that received a $535 million federal loan guarantee in 2009, has renewed a highly partisan debate in Washington over the benefits or failings of President Barack Obama's stimulus program and the wisdom of clean-energy subsidies in general.
Linuo intends to meet or exceed the New York incentive requirements, Zhang said.
Zhang said he wanted to "foster a relationship between U.S. and China" and to share his company's expertise and passion for sustainable energy.
Linuo announced its first business deal with another local company, Solartech Renewables LLC panel maker in nearby Kingston, N.Y.
The terms were not disclosed, but Linuo will supply solar cells to Solartech, which will lead to Solartech ramping up its operation, said Carl Meyer, co-chief executive officer of Kingston's non-profit Solar Energy Consortium.