United Solar Ovonic — Greenville, Michigan

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There’s lots of green in Greenville, Michigan. There’s the green of renewal: To offset future declines in fossil fuels, an increasingly vibrant industrial sector in Greenville is developing alternative energy … green energy. And of course, this sector expects to be profitable. That’s another kind of green.

Greenville is looking forward to a new, high-tech Ovonic solar cell manufacturing facility. It will be built by United Solar Ovonic LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc.

The project represents an investment of $129 million. It will create up to 563 jobs, including 200 directly by the company, within the next five years. This project paves the way for the potential of five more plants and up to 1,000 additional jobs in Michigan.

Assistance from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) helped convince the company to choose Greenville over a competing site in South Carolina. Incentives from state and local authorities amount to about $37 million.

Parts of the incentive package include a Single Business Tax credit approved by the MEDC. This credit is valued at $5.7 million over 20 years. A $5 million federal Community Development Block Grant approved by the MEDC and awarded to the city of Greenville will fund needed infrastructure improvements to support the new plant. The city has proposed a tax abatement valued at approximately $3.6 million over 12 years for the project. The MEDC and city are expected to support a 15-year, tax-free Renaissance Zone for the site, worth an additional $20.4 million to the company.

State and local governments are also providing United Solar Ovonic with additional incentives to invest up to an additional $600 million for up to five more plants in Greenville and up to 1,000 new jobs.

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm said, “The city’s leadership and its outstanding workforce helped win United Solar Ovonic’s major new investment, adding another strong anchor for Michigan’s alternative energy industry.”

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