East NC’s New Solar Panel Plant

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A Vietnamese-based company will build its first North American solar panel manufacturing plant in eastern North Carolina, creating over 900 jobs, officials announced on Friday.

Boviet Solar along with Gov. Roy Cooper and other government officials revealed at an East Carolina University news conference the company’s plans to invest almost $300 million in a 1 million square-foot (304,800 square-meter) advanced manufacturing facility in Greenville.

Founded in 2013, Boviet makes solar panels and photovoltaic cells that are already used in the U.S. by commercial, industrial and residential customers, Cooper’s office said in a news release. Boviet also has offices in Germany, China and the U.S., according to a company fact sheet.

The plant in Greenville, located 85 miles (137 kilometers) east of Raleigh, will help build company capacity worldwide for high-end solar panels and photovoltaic modules, a Cooper news release said.

“We are proud of bringing our manufacturing excellence to our most important solar market, creating jobs, and making a positive impact on North Carolina’s economy,” Boviet CEO Jimmy Xie was quoted in the governor’s release.

The 908 jobs, expected to be in place by 2028, on average will pay $52,879 annually, which is slightly above the Pitt County average, a state Commerce Department document said.

Boviet also considered alternative sites for the plant in Phoenix and Atlanta, the document said.

Earlier Friday, a state panel approved cash incentives to Boviet of up to $8.3 million over 12 years if it meets job-creation and capital spending thresholds. In all, Boviet is poised to receive $34.6 million in combined state and local incentives for the project, according to the commerce document.

Another Vietnamese company, electric car manufacturer VinFast, is building a plant in Chatham County that is expected to create thousands of jobs.

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