Saying it believes the Southwest will be the “epicenter of large-scale solar energy development in North America for years to come,” Gestamp Renewables announced it would locate the headquarters for its Gestamp Solar Steel unit – and, more importantly perhaps, a 75,000-square-foot factory – in the Phoenix suburb of Surprise.
The company is part of Madrid-based Corporación Gestamp, which calls itself a multinational leader in “steel components, automotive and renewable energy.” It said the Surprise factory will make steel for big solar projects by companies such as BrightSource Energy, developer of the Ivanpah solar plant in the Mojave Desert in California. That’s a concentrating solar power plant, but Gestamp said it will also produce photovoltaic solar structures in Arizona.
Gestamp won’t be a huge employer in Surprise, at least not initially; it will begin operation with about 50 employees, the company said, though a phased expansion of the factory is possible if business goes well. Still, the announcement drew Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who said, “Gestamp Solar Steel’s decision to build in Arizona solidifies our case that Arizona is the place to be for renewable energy companies.”
The Phoenix Business Journal reported that luring Gestamp to Surprise will cost the city $1.8 million in incentives, including $400,000 in development fee credits and $1.4 million in investments at the business park where the factory and headquarters will be located.