Albuquerque, New Mexico — Earlier this week, President Joe Biden helped announce a new wind turbine manufacturing plant in New Mexico. Now, there are plans for a massive solar panel facility in Southeast Albuquerque.
In just a few years, the city will be home to the only solar cell manufacturing facility in the country.
Maxeon Solar Technologies CEO Dr. Bill Mulligan said he chose the 160-acre site in Mesa del Sol after conducting nationwide research. Maxion is expected to create 1,800 well-paying jobs.
City, state and federal leaders were eager to help announce the largest economic investment in New Mexico since Intel expanded to Rio Rancho more than 40 years ago.
“This is as big or bigger,” Gov. Michelle Logan Grisham said at Friday’s news conference.
“There is currently no solar cell manufacturing here in the United States,” said Mulligan. “For the most part, it’s all made in Asia today. So it’s important that we go back here, recreate that technology.”
Mulligan said construction on the roughly 2 million square foot facility should begin early next year, with plans to be up and running by the end of 2025. Once operational, the plant is expected to employ 1,800 people of varying skill levels.
Mulligan said hiring new Mexicans is a priority.
“Of course, there’s our own specialized skills that we’ll bring in from other areas, and a nationwide pool of engineering talent and the like,” Mulligan said. “So it’s going to be a combination of the two, but to a large extent, we’re focused on here in Albuquerque.”
State leaders estimate the plant will have an economic impact of more than $4 billion over the next decade, including a new wave of development in Mesa del Sol.
“I think right now with his company, with Netflix, we’re looking at having between 1/6 and 1/5 of the entire city here,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keeler.
State leaders say Maxion will solidify New Mexico as a hub for renewable energy.
“We will bring exceptional American-made products to American customers, and we will make a positive difference in New Mexico,” said Mulligan.
Once fully operational, the plant is expected to produce up to 8 million solar cells annually.
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