A solar panel manufacturing facility, Silfab Solar, based in Canada, has cleared a major obstacle in its plan to build a facility in South Carolina. The York County Council voted 4-3 in favor of approving tax incentives for the project, which aims to create 800 jobs and contribute to the growth of advanced manufacturing in the state.
However, there are concerns from Fort Mill residents about the potential negative impacts of the plant. Some neighbors worry that the facility will worsen traffic congestion in an already busy area. Others are concerned about the potential pollution of air and water due to the chemicals used in manufacturing.
Denise Bach, a resident of Fort Mill, started a petition opposing the project and collected over 400 signatures. She addressed the council, urging them to consider the impact on nearby schools and the potential risks to health and the environment.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control is currently reviewing the permit application for the project and assessing the potential air quality impact. Silfab Solar’s Director of Human Resources, Renee Terreri, dismissed concerns about environmental impact as misinformation and emphasized the economic benefits the project will bring to the area. The facility will create jobs with starting hourly wages of $19 and salaried positions with a salary of $60,000. It will also contribute to the tax base, even with the approved 4 percent tax reduction.
The Silfab Solar project is a part of the rapidly growing domestic solar panel manufacturing industry, particularly in the southeast of the United States. In order to reduce costs and meet carbon reduction goals, the Biden Administration has set high goals and incentives to promote panel manufacturing in the country. The Carolinas have played a significant role in this effort, with 62 manufacturing facilities and 1,100 jobs in the solar industry across both states.
Despite receiving approval from the county, the project still needs a permit from the Department of Health and Environmental Control before operations can begin. A public hearing on the project is scheduled for October 24.
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