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HomeRenewablesSilfab’s South Carolina manufacturing plans may be in jeopardy

Silfab’s South Carolina manufacturing plans may be in jeopardy

Local news outlets are reporting that the zoning board for York County, South Carolina, has reversed its decision to allow Silfab Solar to establish solar cell and panel manufacturing operations in Fort Mill. Silfab had already chosen an existing warehouse off Logistics Lane to outfit with cell and panel assembly manufacturing equipment and was approved to work in the “light industrial” zone. The York County Board of Zoning Appeals voted to change solar manufacturing to only operational in “heavy industrial” zones.

Silfab Solar, a Canadian-headquartered silicon solar panel manufacturer that operates a factory in Burlington, Washington, began looking for a second U.S. manufacturing location over a year ago, with plans to also start solar cell manufacturing. Silfab expected to begin solar cell and panel production in Fort Mill this year, but community pushback has been strong.

Community members have been concerned that Silfab would use “harmful chemicals” to produce solar panels that would put nearby schools at risk.

In its plans for the 1-GW factory, Silfab said it would bring 800 new jobs to the area while providing $17 million in property taxes to Fort Mill Schools. The company had also started taking steps toward establishing a domestic supply chain, including entering a glass supply agreement with nearby SolarCycle in Georgia and signing a memorandum of understanding to purchase silicon wafers from NorSun’s eventual American factory.

Silfab has not yet stated its next steps.

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