Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | 12:01 p.m.
New solar plant
A new solar project that will bring 278 jobs to North Las Vegas is a welcomed boost to the city in the valley hardest hit by the Great Recession.
Amonix, a California-based solar power company, announced at a morning news conference it would construct a manufacturing facility at 4975 N. Pecos Road in the Golden Triangle Industrial Park near the Craig Road and Interstate 15 interchange.
Mayor Shari Buck said she had been on “pins and needles” waiting to hear where Amonix would locate its new plant. She said she was thrilled when she found out the company had chosen North Las Vegas.
“We’re going green, but … we’re making sure our economic development supports local businesses,” Buck said. “This is a sure investment in the future of North Las Vegas.”
The city’s unemployment rate is 15.9 percent, Buck said.
The Sun on Monday reported the company’s decision to move to North Las Vegas. City leaders and company officials discussed the jobs and the company’s plans today.
The company will begin hiring workers immediately for management, production and technical jobs. Amonix plans to have its plant completed and producing by the end of the year.
At the plant, workers will build components for solar-energy systems to be used by municipalities and other large clients, officials said.
Residents can visit the company’s website to apply for jobs, said Amonix Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Operations Vahid Ghassemian. He said the company also plans to place newspaper ads to publicize the openings.
Buck said the company has agreed to try to hire as many workers from North Las Vegas and Southern Nevada as possible. The jobs are also permanent, she said, so they won’t disappear once renovations to the building are complete.
“We’re looking at any business that wants to come in that provides good, permanent jobs for our residents,” Buck said.
The company announced in May that it would build a manufacturing plant in Southern Nevada. Amonix CEO Brian Robertson said the company had been looking at a site in Henderson and two sites in North Las Vegas as potential spots for the expansion.
Robertson said Amonix chose to expand in North Las Vegas, in part, because the city was able to help it meet deadlines for building and production. The building they chose also had railroad and interstate access for easier shipping of materials, he said.
“They city was very accommodating,” Robertson said. “We need to get it built quite quickly.”
Robertson said Nevada is the ideal location to expand the solar energy business because sunlight is plentiful and nearly constant year-round.
“It will be our main, core plant for the Southwest,” he said.
Christopher Zunis, vice president of economic development for the Nevada Development Authority, said the average pay for the 278 jobs would be $18 per hour, plus benefits.
During the next five years, Zunis estimated the economic impact of the plant – calculated from a model using capital investment, number of jobs, salaries and money spent within the community – would be $608 million.
The new plant will also drum up $9.5 million in local tax revenue and $2.5 million in state tax revenue during the next five years, Zunis said.
The company said it is paying for the expansion with a $5.9 million tax credit from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and $12 million from private investors.