New solar panel plant will lie in shadow of one of state’s dirtiest coal plants

 

MILWAUKEE — Helios USA, a start-up solar panel manufacturer, demonstrated how clean energy can boost economic recovery today when the company’s CEO announced it would create at least 50 new positions at its new plant located in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley.

“Today’s announcement highlights the potential for cleaning our environment and creating jobs by promoting growth in the clean energy economy,” said Keith Reopelle, senior policy director at Clean Wisconsin. “With an unemployment rate above 8 percent, Wisconsin families are still experiencing hard times, but clean energy jobs hold the potential to provide relief to thousands.”

Helios USA will assemble highly efficient solar panels for both residential and commercial customers at the new plant located in the Menomonee Valley. The clean energy plant sits next door to We Energies’ Valley Power Plant, one of the oldest and dirtiest coal plants in the state.

“Helios USA will manufacture the products necessary to harness renewable energy to power Wisconsin’s future and reduce our dependence on dirty coal plants like the Valley Power Plant located next door,” said Reopelle. “Transitioning away from coal and toward clean energy will make our families healthier, environment cleaner and economy stronger.”

Helios USA’s announcement falls just days after Tower Tech, a wind turbine manufacturer with a plant in Manitowoc, announced it would step up production after signing a contract to supply wind towers to a Spanish wind turbine provider, Gamesa Technology Corp.

“It’s exciting to see many clean energy jobs coming to Wisconsin, but this is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Reopelle. “By harnessing the full potential of the clean energy economy we can create thousands more family-supporting jobs and reduce our dependence on dirty, imported fossil fuels.”