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The GE sign in Schenectady, NY.

So, by now you’ve probably heard that General Electric is planning to build the largest thin-film solar manufacturing plant in the U.S. The plant, built with a $600 million investment, will employ 400-600 people and make enough solar panels each year to power 800,000 homes.

So now the question is, where’s it going to be built?

GE told the Denver Post that sites in 10 states are being considered, and another, unnamed executive told the Wilmington (N.C.) Star News that three of those states are South Carolina, Colorado, and New York.

Much of the $600 million figure includes the purchase of PrimeStar Solar in Colorado. PrimeStar’s existing factory in Arvada, a suburb of Denver, employs 90 people, and also has a great big empty lot behind it, giving at least the physical space to expand.

Another GE exec told the Albany Business Review that upstate New York is one of the areas under consideration. GE’s renewable energy arm is based in Schenectady, and its research headquarters are nearby in the town of Niskayuna.

Greenville, South Carolina, which is home to a major GE manufacturing facility, is another possibility.

What about Michigan? The Detroit Free Press says GE wouldn’t say either way whether the state is being considered, but notes that the company already has a large manufacturing center outside Detroit.

The deciding factors, GE told the Post, will include proximity to solar research facilities, labor availability, and state and local financial incentives.

Photo by mjb via Creative Commons

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.