Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rhode Island Approves Million Dollar Solar Array Grant

On Monday, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation’s board approved a $1 million grant to Toray (Plastics) America Inc. to construct a solar array.  The grants was given in hopes the company to expand in Rhode Island rather than in Virginia, where it operates another plant and electric costs are lower. Toray says the expansion would create up to 200 jobs; however, this million dollar grant may not be enough to persuade the company to make a $200 million investment at its North Kingstown plant.

During the board meeting, Toray President and CEO Richard Schloesser told board members that the grant shows support for our company and we’re anxious to remain here.

But after the board’s approval, Schloesser was noncommittal in remarks to reporters. He called the grant a good first step to encouraging the plastics maker to grow in Rhode Island. He refused to say what other steps, if any, are necessary ensure that the expansion occurs in the Ocean State.

He also declined to say when the company, which is a division of the Japan-based Toray Industries Inc., would announce its growth plans, other than to say expansion would occur in stages and that more information may be available Tuesday.

If Toray is looking for more incentives from the state, the company may not get them. Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said he was not prepared at this time to offer Toray additional enticements beyond the grant approved Monday. 

To pay for the grant the state will withdraw $750,000 from the Renewable Energy Fund, which is funded by a surcharge on electric bills. The remaining $250,000 comes from federal stimulus money received by the state.

Separately, Toray earlier received a $490,000 state grant paid for with stimulus funds and the project qualifies for a $454,482 federal tax credit.

SOURCE:  http://www.pbn.com/Toray-wins-1M-grant-for-solar-array-noncommittal-on-expansion-plans,60685 

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