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Brewer: Arizona will lead nation in renewable energy

Attending a renewable-energy company's grand opening Monday, Gov. Jan Brewer said Arizona will become the U.S. leader in solar manufacturing and technology.

"I believe Arizona is the destination in the nation for solar companies to locate and expand," she said.

Brewer, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and other dignitaries were on hand as Camarillo, Calif.-based Power-One Inc., the world's second-largest manufacturer of devices that convert power produced from batteries and solar panels, launched a 122,000-square-foot facility near Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. Forty people are working there to start.

The plant is expected to employ 350 people in the next five years and could eventually have 1,000 workers.

"There's a great employee base here, but we also chose Arizona because of the solar corridor that the governor has created," Richard Thompson, Power-One's CEO and president.

Thompson said the potential to collaborate with Arizona State University also attracted the company to Phoenix, and he credited the Arizona Commerce Authority, which Brewer created last year to have business leaders help guide the state's economic future and attract companies.

Brewer said, "This new facility that we're opening today is proof that my new Arizona Commerce Authority is producing results with an aggressive, more-competitive approach."

Gordon said Power-One will help get Arizonans back to work.

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"It's about buying power, and it's about employing other people," he said.

The plant will be able to eventually produce photovoltaic panels to capture and convert the sun's energy and wind inverters that can produce enough electricity for 2 million homes.

Alex Levran, president of renewable energy solutions for Power-One, said the company has collaborated with Arizona State University to develop innovative technologies.

"We chose to work with ASU because they have very good development programs and design programs," he said.

Sandra D. Kennedy, a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, said the state's combination of abundant sunshine and existing manufacturing firms makes it a prime location for renewable-energy companies.

"Our main focus is to put more people to work in these areas," she said.

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Griselda Nevarez/Cronkite News Service

Workers man an assembly line at a new Power-One Inc., manufacturing plant in Phoenix. Gov. Jan Brewer and other dignitaries attended a grand opening Monday for the facility, calling it a big step toward Arizona’s goal of leading the nation in renewable-energy manufacturing and technology.

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Facts about Power-One

Headquartered in Camarillo, Calif.

Second-largest manufacturer of power inverters for the renewable energy industry.

Employs 3,400 people worldwide, with operations in Asia, Europe, and the Americas

Expected to employ 350 Arizonans in the next five years through plant opened in Phoenix.