New solar manufacturer glimpse of future - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New solar manufacturer glimpse of future

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Madison (WKOW) --- A factory to help build solar panels is about to open in Mazomanie, without a dime of federal stimulus so far.

But industry leaders believe Cardinal Glass' new plant could lead to the financial boost the stimulus package is designed to deliver.

"We're producing the clear piece of glass for the solar component of the (solar) panels," plant manager Jeff Valek told 27 News. "It's definitely a new market. It's a good market to get into for future growth, future green energy." Valek said most of Cardinal Glass' more than thirty plants nationwide have previously focused on window glass for residential development.

Mazomanine village president Scott Stokes told 27 News the Cardinal Glass factory opening in April will not only bring much-need manufacturing jobs, but could be a springboard for new economy development plans.

"We'd like to group solar, environmental research, producers, into our new industrial park and be a magnet for the county and the whole region."

Stokes and Valek said they were unsure whether the plant or other future industrial park projects would qualify for assistance from the federal stimulus bill.

Wisconsin Department of Administration spokesperson Linda Barth told 27 News Cardinal Glass and other renewable energy producers should be eligible for special tax credits and can compete for new energy grants as part of the stimulus plan.

"It would definitely help us out, but obviously the business has to be there for the end users (to justify expansion)," Valek said.

Cardinal glass is also occupying office space in the former Sunny Industries printing firm facility. That plant closed in 2007 with several hundred jobs lost. Stokes said the former plant may be split into portions, to try to attract several, smaller manufacturers.

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