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Why not California #15 - More solar manufacturing losses

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Jan. 6, 2011

Add another big loss to the mounting list of solar start-ups that opt to manufacture their product outside of California.

This week, Stion Solar Panels announced it would build it's manufacturing plant in Hattiesburg, Mississippi after getting a $75 million loan from the state and citing lower wages and a more trainable workforce. (CORRECTION: This sentence reads as if California provided the $75 million loan. It was Mississippi that provided the loan.)

California's inability to manufacture it's home grown innovations continues to play out against its own economy and workers. Let's face it, without manufacturing, innovation is just a good idea. California has a tremendous market and we have cutting-edge research & development. We don't, however, have a competitive environment to make our products and employ thousands of workers. And it seems to be getting worse, not better.

The approximate 200 to 300 high-wage jobs that the Mississippi solar plant will produce in 2011 (1,000 by 2017) would have been a blessing to some of the 2.2 million unemployed Californians and a boon to state revenues.

More intriguing is the announcement from many states this month that they should and would more actively recruit companies from California, citing the difficult business climate. Add Mississipi to the list of states taking advantage of California's woes.





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