By Ron Vokoun, Mortenson Construction
With a favorable business climate, strong policy initiatives and proximity to California’s large market for renewable energy, Arizona is fast becoming a hub for companies who provide manufacturing and services related to development of solar energy. One of the newest and most exciting projects for Valley residents is the Gestamp Solar Steel Facility.
The facility, located in Surprise, began construction on March 7, 2011 on 27 acres of land in the Skyway Business Park and houses a state-of-the-art steel fabrication factory as well as the U.S. headquarters for Gestamp Solar Steel with the promise of 50 jobs immediately with more to follow as future phases are added. By the time construction was completed in June, Mortenson Construction and subcontractor work forces peaked at 86 people.
The factory supports the development of large-scale solar energy projects in the U.S. In its first phase, the manufacturing facility encompasses 63,000 SF and new office space of 12,000 SF, is expected to employ 50 people. Gestamp contemplates a phased expansion of the facility over time with additional manufacturing capacity to accommodate ongoing development of projects for the rapidly growing solar energy market in North America. The Arizona facility will produce steel structures using advanced manufacturing technologies,
processes and quality control disciplines that have been successfully used by Gestamp in other parts of the world.
“Gestamp Solar Steel represents the kind of high-quality jobs our residents are looking for,” said Surprise City Manager Mark Coronado. “We could not ask for a better corporate citizen than Gestamp Solar steel, a company with a solid reputation in the renewable energy industry.”
Gestamp’s Solar Steel facility was designed to produce steel structures for projects that use CSP technology and also photovoltaic (PV) solar structures. “Our strategic investment in Arizona represents an important milestone for Gestamp Renewables and follows our belief that the southwestern U.S. will be the epicenter of large-scale solar energy development in North America for years to come,” said Jon Riberas, President & CEO of Gestamp Renewables.
“We also believe that Gestamp Renewables is uniquely positioned to provide solar project developers with cost-effective structural solutions that embody advanced technology, the highest level of quality assurance and outstanding operational and logistical support.”
“Gestamp’s industrial heritage spans 52 years and 25 countries and is characterized by financial stability and an ongoing dedication to excellence,” said Riberas. “The new manufacturing plant strengthens the Gestamp Group’s ongoing commitment to developing clean, renewable energy and to providing products and services that meet the highest standards of quality and reliability. While Gestamp Solar Steel will be new to America, our Automotive Division has an established presence in the U.S., with 1,500 employees providing high-quality sub-assembly services and systems to the domestic auto market.”
The Gestamp Solar Steel Facility project team erected the last of the structural steel on May 4th, celebrating their topping off with both an American and Spanish flag attached to the last steel set in place, symbolizing Arizona’s place in the growing cleantech global economy of the future.