Why not try to become a solar manufacturing hub?Solar module manufacturer Suniva has begun construction of its second U.S. factory this week. the 129,000 square-feet plant will be located in Saginaw Township, Michigan, an be able to make 200MW of panels per year. It's expected to create 350 jobs in construction and operations.
Marc Rogovin, vice president of corporate services at Suniva, said: “The U.S. is now one of the top three markets for the global solar industry. Given that, expanding our U.S. manufacturing operation makes a lot of sense and we believe Michigan is the ideal location. With the region’s rich manufacturing history, we have a highly-skilled workforce to draw from and many key supply chain partners in the area. Michigan is a central location with the logistics infrastructure that makes it very easy for us to move our products.”
With worldwide solar capacity going up over 50x in the past decade and renewables forecast to be getting 2/3 of the $7.7 trillion invested in energy in the next 15 years, there's a big pie that is worth taking a bite out of.
This makes me think that a region with the historical manufacturing expertise that Michigan has should try to attract more solar manufacturers. SolarCity has recently bought Silevo and made public plans to build solar Gigafactories (a bit like Tesla's battery Gigafactory). But attracting such plants, Michigan could help revive its economy and be less dependent on auto makers that probably aren't going to ever need as many factories as when the Big 3 had much higher market share in the US.