WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown today announced that he helped secure a critical loan guarantee—made possible through the Recovery Act—that will help support a clean energy project in Ontario. Brown today joined U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu to announce a conditional commitment for a $275 million loan guarantee to Calisolar, Inc. to commercialize its innovative solar silicon manufacturing process. Should the project be finalized, it will locate its new operations on the site of the former General Motors plant in Ontario, Ohio. The loan guarantee will be funded through a program known as “1705,” which was authorized in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“This is a game-changer that will bring hundreds of good-paying manufacturing jobs to Richland County. The clean energy economy is the future, and Calisolar’s expansion here will further cement our state as a leader in that field,” Brown said.
“Ontario is the right location for Calisolar’s expansion, and I’d say that even if I hadn’t grown up next door in Mansfield,” Brown continued. “We know how to make things in Ohio—our manufacturing capabilities are second-to-none. We have a skilled workforce that is ready to get back to work.
“Hats off to local officials in the City of Ontario and Richland County for making this project a priority and continuing to work to bring Calisolar to north-central Ohio. I am confident that Calisolar and the Administrative Trust responsible for the GM plant will now have the assurance they need to move forward and break ground right here in Ontario,” Brown concluded.
Brown has played an active role in bringing Calisolar to Ontario. He has made calls top executives at Calisolar to make the case for Ohio, urged the Department of Energy to support this loan application, and has worked closely with the Ohio Department of Development, the City of Ontario, and the City of Mansfield to encourage Calisolar to locate in Ontario.
At the end of May, Brown sent a letter to Calisolar and the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust (RACER)—the trust responsible for redeveloping former GM sites— urging a final agreement on a deal to locate Calisolar in Ontario; the same week, he published an op-ed in the Mansfield News-Journal pledging to help secure the Department of Energy Loan for Calisolar should they locate in north-central Ohio.