Fremont, California-based Solyndra Inc. scored a monumental victory in the solar industry. Beating out 60 other companies, Solyndra was awarded a $535-million federal loan guarantee to build a new manufacturing plant in its home city. The award will come as part of the $787 billion federal stimulus plan.
The loan will be administered by the Department of Energy and allow Solyndra to vastly expand its manufacturing operations. Solyndra creates solar cylinders, which are tubular solar photovoltaic panels that collect light from all directions - even light reflected off the rooftop, a distinct benefit for flat commercial rooftops.
Filling the void
The new plant to be built in Fremont is expected to create at least 3,000 local jobs and produce up to 15 gigawatts-worth of solar panels. The Solyndra expansion and the subsequent solar jobs it creates in Fremont couldn’t have better timing for the city’s residents - Toyota Motor Corp. recently announced plans to shutter its Fremont manufacturing plant this coming spring. The plant’s closure will cost 4,700 Fremont area residents their jobs, many of whom could find their way into the Solyndra plant.
The Nummi auto plant in Fremont supports more than just the 4,700 workers inside the factory. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, as many as 50,000 jobs could be affected or lost as a result of the plant’s closure. It is the only automotive plant on the West Coast.
While the Solyndra plant and the federal loan guarantee may be a godsend for the people of Fremont, the Nummi plant closure is further evidence that we need to keep the solar jobs and other green jobs coming, throughout California and around the nation.