On Monday, a little more than a year after breaking ground at Mesa Del Sol, Schott Solar Manufacturing celebrated the company's grand opening. The state-of-the-art facility represents an initial investment of over $100 million in the Albuquerque area and the creation of 300 new jobs, growing to 350 by year’s end and to eventually as many as 1,500.
Governor Bill Richardson was there with a shovel to break ground and returned this morning for the opening of the company's flagship manufacturing site in the United States.
When I became Governor, I pledged that my administration would focus on developing new economic opportunities and aggressively recruiting high-tech, high-wage jobs to New Mexico.Green collar jobs was just a buzz-word last year during the ground breaking ceremony, but has become a priority for the governor and the state's all blue congressional delegation.
Freshman congressman Martin Heinrich (D-NM1) also attended Schott's opening.
Today is symbolic of New Mexico’s growing appetite for innovative economic development. I welcome SCHOTT Solar to the First Congressional District. Its presence illustrates the potential we have to create clean energy jobs right here in Albuquerque and to lead the way nationally in alternative energy.
Watch Heinrich in his YouTube Channel video here.
The Schott opening follows a weekend environmental town hall meeting at UNM where about 100 conservationists, government officials and concerned citizens gathered at Central New Mexico Community College’s Smith-Brasher to discuss clean energy and the economy. Matt Reichbach at NMI has the details on the clean energy town hall meeting here.
At the opening this morning Governor Richardson added:
This SCHOTT Solar facility is one of our biggest successes. It is one of the most significant economic development projects in recent state history and is a tremendous boost to our fast-growing clean energy industry.The governor has been talking about investing in companies that create green collar jobs for a couple of years. In March, Marjorie Childress with NMI reported that solar energy and green collar jobs were the big winners in the 2009 legislature. Read her report here.
More from a Schott company news release:
The new 200,000 square foot manufacturing plant will be one of SCHOTT Solar’s largest operations in the United States and will be the world’s first facility to produce both utility-scale solar photovoltaic modules and receiver tubes for concentrated solar plants.
SCHOTT is one of the largest solar equipment manufacturers in the world and operates in 41 countries with 16,800 employees worldwide. The company has been in operation for more than 120 years.
“Today is an extremely proud day for SCHOTT,” Dr. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of SCHOTT’s Board of Management, said. “With the inauguration of this facility, SCHOTT Solar is further demonstrating the company’s position as a global player in solar technology and our ongoing commitment to developing the North American market through strategic investment.”
Anticipating the need to increase production of its solar power technologies as the market for renewable energy in the United States grows; SCHOTT’s new site is designed to support expansion of both its photovoltaic module and solar receiver lines. Long term plans call for the building to expand to 800,000 square feet with employment reaching 1,500 at full production, representing a total investment of $500 million.
"This inauguration represents the cornerstone of the Governor's green economy initiative,” said Fred Mondragon, Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department. “The fact that Schott Solar, a world leader in solar photovoltaics, has chosen to locate in New Mexico speaks volumes about our commitment to renewable energy and the future."