New Power-One plant opens in Phoenix, brings hundreds of jobs

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PHOENIX -- The new Power-One manufacturing facility is not only bringing hundreds of jobs to Phoenix, it's also helping put Arizona on the map in the renewable energy industry.

Tess Rafols went inside  the newly opened plant near Interstate 10 and University Drive. The facility is Power-One's first manufacturing plant in all of North America.

Power-One, Inc. (Nasdaq:PWER) is a leading provider of renewable energy and energy-efficient power conversion and power management solutions. The Phoenix plant will produce Power-One's photovoltaic and wind inverters. Those inverters are key to most solar systems.

Gov. Jan Brewer was among the leaders on hand to celebrate Monday's grand opening.

"This is a great big deal for the state of Arizona," Brewer said. "This just adds to the whole idea of Arizona being the solar capital of the world."

Once it's fully operational, the 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility , which is located near Interstate 10 and University Drive, will create 350 jobs in Arizona. More than 125 of those jobs should be place by the of the year.

"As we keep exploring and getting better at renewable energy -- wind and solar -- those jobs will expand and that will be great for our economy," Brewer said.

The governor said Monday's Power-One plant opening sends a strong message to other businesses that might be looking for a place to set up shop.

"Arizona is here and we're open for business," she said. "We will do everything that we can possibly do to be good partners with the business community. We're going to be very competitive with the states that surround us."

Negotiations to bring in Power-One to Phoenix were a year in the making. The city has made it a goal to bring in renewal-energy companies.

"It's about building relationships, first, and trust with corporations that are going to invest, in this case, tens of millions of dollars," explained Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. "Secondly, it's about actually negotiating and bringing the companies here. A lot goes on behind the scenes to get to today."

While the Phoenix plant will initially supply inverters for the entire U.S. and Canada, the plan is to eventually export the parts all over the world.

Monday's opening doesn't just represent a single business. Some of Power-One's main suppliers are expected to move to Arizona. In addition, several other support companies already in place, including packing and trucking facilities, should see an an uptick in business.

Power-One is the sixth solar manufacturing company to put down roots in Phoenix since January 2010.