NY State’s neat little inward investment sweetener that was sweet enough for SpectraWatt


The news that Globe Specialty Metals was reopening its UMG-Si plant in Niagara Falls, Upstate New York revealed something else of interest. Earlier this year and barely out of stealth mode, SpectraWatt announced a change in location for its first solar cell manufacturing plant. Originally, SpectraWatt had planned for its HQ to be located in Oregon but later chose Hudson Valley Research Park in Hopewell Junction, NY, delaying its production ramp plans. It would seem that talk of great support from the Empire State Development (ESD), without giving any details at the time, now proves to have been a sweet deal indeed for SpectraWatt, Globe Specialty Metals and many more PV manufacturers interested in locating to the state.

Apparently, back in 2008, ESD and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) created an economic development package for Globe that allocated 40MW of hydropower over five years and up to US$25 million in Empire Zone benefits for up to 10 years, with extensions potentially built in.

Don’t forget the benefit of ultra-low electricity costs and ‘Green to Green’ power generation.

Globe in return would offer solar cell manufacturers up to 25% of Globe’s UMG-Si production at a reduced price as an incentive to locate to New York State. ESD would be responsible for offering potential inward investors the deal.

SpectraWatt would seem to be the first to find this sweetener too good to refuse as it transpires that the start-up now has the option to purchase 200MT of Globe’s UMG-Si per year at special rates and of course a secured supply.

Also revealed in the NY State press release was the news that SpectraWatt’s plans to build a 60MW capacity cell plant would cost approximately $80 million, initially. Plans revealed earlier this year also said that this would double over the next few years.

Quite rightly, NY State noted that this is the ‘only known government incentive in the United States offering silicon to solar cell manufacturers.’

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