Stion adds workers to Hattiesburg solar plant

August 2, 2017

Written by JACK WEATHERLY, Mississippi Business Journal

Stion Corp.’s employment has risen to 150 at its Hattiesburg plant where it produces solar panels.  The company has agreed to create 500 jobs by the end of 2022, according to an amended memorandum of understanding with the state, city and Forrest County.

Stion started operations in 2012 after negotiating a $75 million, low-interest loan with the state and getting the city and county to agree to a fee in lieu of taxes.  Vice President Frank Yang said Tuesday that the manufacturer has added about 40 jobs in the past year.

The company, whose headquarters are in San Jose, Calif., announced the receipt of a $956,630 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative Program.  Using the grant, the company will work in conjunction with Colorado State University to “increase module efficiency” and lower costs for customers, according to a July 21 release.

A July 19 release announced that the company was seeking to fill five new positions in Hattiesburg, three of which were for engineers, the other two for technicians.  That release states that “many manufacturers have cut back production due to financial concerns, and the U.S. market now has only three producers which are continuing normal operations – First Solar, Stion and Tesla’s under construction plant in Buffalo, N.Y.”

Seraphim Solar USA, whose parent is based in China, is in production in Jackson. In June, it announced that it is seeking to double its work force of about 30. U.S. manufacturers have had to fight China’s dumping of lower-cost panels and modules on the domestic market. President Donald Trump is weighing whether to impose tariffs on Chinese solar products, which would make the imports more expensive, and address concerns by U.S. manufacturers.