SoloPower to cut ribbon on Portland solar manufacturing plant next week

SoloPower will celebrate the grand opening of its Portland manufacturing facility on Sept. 27.

SoloPower will celebrate the grand opening of its Portland manufacturing facility on Sept. 27. 

Following months of anticipation and economic development intrigue, SoloPower will celebrate the grand opening of its $340 million North Portland manufacturing facility next week.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company, which specializes in roll-out, flexible, thin-film solar panels, is expected to employ about 90 people at the facility by the end of the year.

The plant, in leased space at 6308 N. Marine Drive., is financed by a series of debt and equity financing rounds in addition to a $197 million federal loan guarantee finalized last year.

When SoloPower first started considering the Portland region, the company had its eye on a spot in Wilsonville. But when residents there vocally opposed a package of incentives being offered to the company, Portland officials swooped in and wooed SoloPower CEO Tim Harris with an incentive package of their own.

SoloPower is working hard and will be watched closely by the industry given the bankrupt fate of other federal loan guarantee-backed solar companies including the now-infamous Solyndra and Abound Solar.

In March, Harris said the company was working quickly to avoid a similar fate.

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