Solar manufacturing advantage: Oregon

Sanyo Solar VP Ron Craig:

Sanyo Solar VP Ron Craig: "We’ve exceeded every commitment to the state."

Sanyo Solar opened its $84 million Salem wafer-making plant two years ago with lots of promise.

To date it’s met expectations on about every metric.

It employs just over 200, pays at 150 percent above the average Marion County wage, and has been a strong advocate for solar in Oregon.

“We’ve exceeded every commitment to the state,” said Ron Craig, vice president of administration for Sanyo Solar of Oregon LLC.

Now, Oregon leaders believe its time they return the favor.

Sanyo joins SolarWorld, Solaicx, PV Powered and a host of others among a cache of companies that in the past five years have turned Oregon into one of the nation’s biggest manufacturers of solar-energy-generating products.

The state in the past year has added to its collection, securing commitments from thin-film solar manufacturers Solexant and SoloPower.

But as the state continues to grow the cluster, its efforts will focus more on helping the companies already here expand than on recruiting new players to the market.

“The question we’re chasing down right now, is what’s up next year and the following,” said Bruce Laird who, as a clean technology recruitment officer at the Oregon Business Development Department has played a key role in building out the state’s solar manufacturing cluster. “We’re really paying attention to helping companies expand and be successful in capturing market share.”

The impetus for that strategy isn’t so much customer service for the state as it is an assessment of the solar industry’s trajectory.

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@ErikSiemers | | 503-219-3418


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