SoloPower set to spurn Wilsonville for Portland
By Andy Giegerich and Erik Siemers, Business Journal staff writers
Business Journal staff writers
SoloPower is set to open a manufacturing operation in Oregon for its thin-film solar technology.
SoloPower Inc. is likely to announce soon that it will establish a manufacturing plant in Portland.
While economic development officials declined to comment, several sources indicated an announcement will be made perhaps as soon as Friday. San Jose-based SoloPower is a manufacturer of thin-film solar panels.
UPDATE: Portland city officials called a press conference for 10 a.m. Friday to formally announce the SoloPower deal.
The announcement would come after the company hit roadblocks in its efforts to locate in Wilsonville, where it hoped to employ around 500 workers in a manufacturing plant at the site of a former Nike Inc. distribution facility.
In February, the company received a $197 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy for the proposed plant. It also recently raised $51.6 million and said it was seeking another $20 million. All told, the company planned to invest up to $340 million in the project.
Though it didn't mention SoloPower by name, a Twitter post from Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard indicated that the company no longer plans to move to Wilsonville.
“It is unfortunate that a small, but vocal number of citizens cost the city of Wilsonville as many as five hundred jobs,” Bernard wrote.
Reached Thursday afternoon, Bernard said SoloPower CEO Tim Harris called him at around 11 a.m. to notify him of the company’s decision to pursue locations in Portland.
“They are moving because of an uncertain future in Clackamas County,” Bernard said.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams is exploring a “possible announcement” on a company's relocation soon, said Skip Newberry, Adams’ economic development policy adviser.
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