Inquirer: Solar panel factory coming to Navy Yard

Inquirer: Solar panel factory coming to Navy Yard

Gov. Rendell is expected to announce Monday that a Greek solar-panel manufacturing company intends to build a production facility at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, a development that local officials hailed yesterday as an important step in positioning the city to be a key player in the emerging clean-energy economy.

The plant is expected to create 400 to 500 jobs.

The project, in the works at least three to six months, has been so hush-hush that those involved have used the code name “Project Helios” to refer to it. Helios was the personification of the sun in ancient Greek mythology.

The company’s name is Heliotechniki S.A. It has been in business since 1998, according to its Web site.

“It’s a very significant new project,” said Peter S. Longstreth, president of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., which owns and manages the Navy Yard on behalf of the city.

Longstreth credited the governor and Mayor Nutter with pulling the deal together.

The governor’s office has said Rendell is reserving comment until a news conference set for 1 p.m. Monday in the lobby of One Crescent Drive at the Navy Yard. Nutter was unavailable yesterday as a result of his father’s death Wednesday.

Jobs at the Heliotechniki plant would be “advanced manufacturing” involving “a significant amount of technology,” Longstreth said.

The facility would be from 400,000 to 500,000 square feet on 40 acres in the middle of the 1,000-acre Navy Yard. It will take “a couple of years to materialize” and would represent an investment of “several hundred million” dollars, Longstreth said.

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