Solar panel manufacturer locating in Hattiesburg

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - Mississippi's Governor, Haley Barbour, announced Tuesday that a solar panel manufacturing company will be locating in Hattiesburg creating more than one thousand jobs and 500 million dollars worth of investment over the next six years.

The announcement happened at the Lake Terrace Convention Center where Barbour said California based Stion will be locating a production facility in the Forrest County Industrial Park at the former Sunbeam location.

Stion produces high efficiency thin film solar electric panels. Governor Haley Barbour visited with company officials at their San Jose headquarters last August to discuss the benefits of locating a manufacturing plant in Mississippi. The Hattiesburg facility will be the company's biggest production center.

According to Governor Haley Barbour, "I think it's very important in the future that we be seen as an energy reliable state. A state with abundant affordable energy. Energy runs the economy."

Chet Farris is the President and CEO of Stion. Farris said, "It's a business friendly state which some aren't as you might guess. We surely like the workforce demographics, the proximity to the university. The cost of doing business is fairly attractive in Mississippi compared to other parts of the U.S."

Stion said equipment will begin arriving in Hattiesburg this summer. The company hopes to be manufacturing panels at a full rate by the end of 2011.

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