Abound Solar sale pushed back; Project on a Yo-yo string? November 19, 2010Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
Tags: Abound Solar, Getrag, Indiana, Indiana Economic Development Commission (IEDC), Tipton County
The sale of an empty plant in Tipton to a solar panel manufacturer has been delayed. The Kokomo Tribune is reporting Abound Solar Inc. is waiting for the federal government to wrap up some paperwork before the deal can go through. The company says it still plans to close on the purchase of the former Getrag plant by the end of the year. Read More Energy Systems Network Chief Executive Officer Paul Mitchell discussed Abound Solar’s plans, and what they mean for the state’s clean tech sector earlier this year in a Studio(i) interview with Gerry Dick.
Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana
November 16, 2010
Abound Solar sale pushed back
Incoming solar panel manufacturer waiting on federal funding
By Daniel Human
Tribune business writer
Tipton — The sale of the future Abound Solar Inc. plant in Tipton has moved back a month after it was originally supposed to close Tuesday.
But company and Tipton County officials assured Tuesday that the sale of the former Getrag-Chrysler plant would happen this year.
Mark Chen, marketing director for Abound, said the solar panel manufacturer is waiting on the federal government to finish some “paperwork and bureaucracy” before the Colorado-based company receives the loan it needs to move to Indiana.
The sale is tentatively set to close by Dec. 16, but it could happen sooner, said Tipton County Commissioner Jane Harper.
Chen said the delay should not affect the company’s timeline for beginning operations in Tipton.
Abound could start hiring locally for the expected 850 jobs in late 2011, at the earliest. Abound expects to reach substantial production in 2013, he said.
W.W. Reynolds Companies Inc., a real estate developer and property manager in Boulder, Co., plans to buy the approximately 800,000-square-foot building at the corner of U.S. 31 and Ind. 28, Chen said.
Abound plans to enter into a long-term lease with W.W. Reynolds, which is who the solar panel company rents its manufacturing plant from in Longmont, Co.
President Barack Obama announced in July the U.S. Department of Energy would award Abound a $400 million loan guarantee.
The loan requires Abound to first use $50 million to add a second manufacturing line in Longmont, then a third for another $50 million.
The company will use the remaining $300 million to begin eight lines in Tipton.
The majority of the loan will go toward machinery and other capital investments, Chen said.
Harper said the Department of Energy and other federal agencies involved with the loan know that the building’s sale needs to happen this year. The trust of contractors that owns the Tipton factory will dissolve at the end of 2010.
“These federal agencies are very well aware that it has to be done by the end of the year because of the stipulations,” Harper said. “They’ve given the company and county assurance that it will close.”
Along with the $400 million loan, she noted, Tipton County has also invested $13 million in bonds for the property that helped the owners reduce the selling cost, which is in the $40-million range.
“If this doesn’t happen,” Harper said, “then they are well aware that a lot of entities would lose on this.”
The company after the July announcement originally was quiet about when it would close on the former transmission plant. But in September, Abound said an increasing demand for its products led it to speed up its expansion so it could keep up with orders.
The building has sat empty at the northeast corner of U.S. 31 and Ind. 28 since 2008 when Getrag and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. Both companies backed out of the nearly complete construction of a transmission plant, leaving unpaid contractor bills. A federal court last year turned over ownership to a trust of the contractors.
• Daniel Human is the Kokomo Tribune business reporter. He can be reached at 765-454-8570 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana
September 23, 2010
Abound bumping up move to Tipton
Company will close on former Getrag plant in mid-November
By KEN de la BASTIDE and DANIEL HUMAN
Tribune staff writers
TIPTON — The Colorado solar panel manufacturer planning to move into the never-used transmission plant in Tipton County could come to Indiana about two years sooner than originally expected, company and county officials said Wednesday.
Abound Solar Inc. plans to close Nov. 16 on its purchase of the former Getrag Transmission LLC plant at the corner of U.S. 31 and Ind. 28, said company spokesman Mark Chen.
The company originally planned to have created 850 jobs by 2013, but hiring could now begin as soon as late 2011, Chen said.
The solar panel manufacturer is moving forward with its plans more quickly to keep up with the increasing number of orders it is receiving, Chen said.
Abound hasn’t finished mapping out how many of the 850 jobs it would initially create or when operations would begin in Tipton, he said.
President Barack Obama announced in July that Abound Solar would receive a $400 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy to expand its operations in Colorado, then purchase the never-used, approximately 800,000-square-foot factory.
The company had one manufacturing line in place before the loan at its plant in Longmont, Colo.
The Department of Energy will give Abound $50 million to put in a second line and another $50 million for a third in Longmont. The company will then receive $300 million to install eight lines in Tipton.
Tipton County Commissioner Jane Harper said Abound exercised its option to purchase the building from a trust established in 2009 by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Michigan after Getrag filed for bankruptcy protection.
The company has entered into a binding agreement with the trust, Harper said.
Abound is purchasing the building from the trust for $25 million with Tipton County providing $13 million through Tax Increment Financing to lower the purchase price, she said.
The proceeds of the sale will go to contractors who were not paid for work done when Getrag filed for bankruptcy.
“This is the best deal for Tipton County,” Harper said of Abound purchasing the facility. “It fits best with the community and our green technology.
“With our predominant agricultural base, the establishment of Abound Solar at the crossroads of our community and three wind-energy companies with plans to place wind farms in our county, we can create a unique marketing opportunity in selling Tipton County and its products as the ‘green’ capital,” she said.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Abound Solar Inc. up to $11.85 million in performance-based tax credits and $250,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. The IEDC will also provide work force and ombudsperson assistance.
Tipton County has approved additional incentives, including tax abatements for the company along with TIF money to the trust that owns the building.
The Getrag plant was being constructed as a joint venture between Chrysler and Germany-based Getrag. The plant was expected to provide more than 1,000 jobs. But soon before construction ended in 2008, Chrysler pulled out of the agreement and filed a lawsuit against Getrag. Getrag then filed for bankruptcy and backed out of the project, leaving the plant empty since.
• Ken de la Bastide is the Kokomo Tribune enterprise editor. He can be reached at 765-454-8580 or at email@example.com . Daniel Human is the Kokomo Tribune business reporter. He can be reached at 765-454-8570 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .