Heliene, Inc., an Ontario based solar energy company is rebooting production in a once closed solar panel producing plant located in northern Minnesota. According to trusted sources, a state loan package to procure efficient equipment was deemed to be a major contributing factor in the restarting of the facility.
The Canadian company has initiated operations inside a 25000-sq-foot plant located in Mountain Iron, Minnesota, a city with the population of around 3000, and further plans to employ about 130 individuals by September this year.
Sources familiar with the development state that the plant was previously occupied by Silicon Energy, a solar energy company. The aid of a $3.5 million state loan played a crucial role in rebooting the plant than the solar tariffs imposed by the Trump administration, which have had mixed effects.
According to reports, the tariffs have stimulated new investment estimated at about $1 billion in the solar manufacturing domain but meanwhile have also led companies to freeze projects worth more than $2.5 billion.
Heiliene CEO, Martin Pochtaruk, stated that the company aspires to be competitive via marketing premium and high-end ‘Made in America’ panels manufactured in a state-of-the-art factory. He further stated that the facility would be the most efficient in the nation as no other firm possesses more up-to-date equipment.
The plant is a remnant of the state’s modest solar component manufacturing industry which mostly faded into oblivion after a support program, Made in Minnesota, was terminated last year. The Canadian company counted itself among the participants of the program, but almost every other company in the program had to shut their plants within the state or have gone completely out of business.
General counsel and communications’ director, Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association, Liz Lucente stated that the association is pleased to welcome the latest manufacturing plant of solar modules in the U.S. to start running in Minnesota, especially after the exodus of local manufacturers from the state last year.