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Convalt Energy

Convalt Energy buys two Watertown buildings, starts moving equipment from Oregon

in Local Business 288 views

WATERTOWN — Convalt Energy is purchasing two buildings that were once part of the city’s industrial history and now will be used to store solar panel manufacturing equipment being transported from Oregon.

The two buildings — the original New York Air Brake building on Purdy Street and a part of the Black Clawson complex on Pearl Street — will be used for warehousing until the company’s mammoth solar panel manufacturing plant in the town of Hounsfield is in operation.

David J. Zembiec, CEO of Jefferson County Economic Development, confirmed that the company will use both buildings for storage.

Equipment from a defunct solar panel plant in Oregon started arriving by truck on Monday. More than 200 trucks are hauling the equipment from a former SunPower Corp. factory in Oregon.

“They started rolling in,” Mr. Zembiec said. “They expected them to come in on Tuesday and they started coming in on Monday.”

The former Black Clawson building at 511 Pearl St., most recently used by a metal scrap company, is a 70,000-square-foot warehouse, while the Air Brake structure, at 100 Purdy St., is currently 52,000 square feet.

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Convalt Energy hopes for June 1 construction start

in Local News 247 views

WATERTOWN — Convalt Energy officials should know soon whether they can acquire two Watertown buildings to use for warehousing space for solar panel manufacturing equipment being transported from Oregon.

The company continues to develop a mammoth solar manufacturing plant on Route 12F near the Watertown International Airport in the town of Hounsfield.

The 330,000-square-foot facility could get site plan approval from the Hounsfield Planning Board as early as May 3, with construction starting soon after that.

“We prefer to start in June, but it’ll probably be July 1,” Convalt Energy CEO Hari Achuthan said Wednesday.

The most recent employment figures for the $40 million plant estimate 122 workers during the first year, growing to 382 in year three.

Described as high-paying jobs, the factory positions include sales, marketing, automatics and research and development, Mr. Achuthan said. So far, Convalt has 40 people on its payroll.

Mr. Achuthan told Watertown Local Development Corp. officials on Wednesday that Convalt is purchasing a 100,000-square-foot building and a 75,000-square-foot building, where it will store the equipment.

He hopes to close on the two unidentified buildings within three weeks.

On Wednesday, Mr. Achuthan attended the local development corporation’s Revolving Loan Fund Committee meeting to discuss a $300,000 bridge gap loan.

The committee sent the loan request to the full board for a vote next week. The company needs $1,050,000 in bridge gap financing it plans to use as working capital to transport the equipment from Oregon.

In addition to the WLDC, the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency and the Sackets Harbor Local Development Corp. will participate in the bridge gap funding.

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Watertown City Council approves Sewall’s Island agreement with Convalt Energy

in Local News 306 views

WATERTOWN — Convalt Energy can now start work in determining whether an abandoned hydroelectric plant on Sewall’s Island can provide energy for the company’s proposed solar panel manufacturing facility.

By a 4-1 vote, the City Council approved a license agreement that will allow the energy company to determine if the old hydro plant can be redeveloped and used again. The city owns the island.

Councilman Cliff G. Olney voted no.

Michael Wiser, the company’s chief strategist, said afterward that Convalt has hired a company to conduct research on the project.

“They can move forward and get going with it,” he said.

Convalt will immediately start working on a preliminary Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license that would allow a hydro plant at the site, he said.

The company will be required to give a status report on the FERC license every six months, Mr. Wiser said. City Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero made that request also as a requirement to the agreement with the city.

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