Semprius seeking more time to create jobs
A Henderson solar company plans to ask the state Department of Commerce for more time to create a total of more than 50 new full-time jobs — which is a requirement of the $500,000 building reuse grant awarded to it in 2011, according to Vance County Deputy Manager Jordan McMillen.
Semprius — which makes high-concentration solar photovoltaic modules — has already requested one yearlong extension from the Department of Commerce in 2013, McMillen said.
He said the company received the building reuse grant from the North Carolina Rural Center, which has since become a part of the state Department of Commerce.
The payout of the grant is contingent on the creation of 58 new, full-time jobs within 18 months of the award.
McMillen said he did not know the company’s latest hiring figures.
Semprius officials did not respond to requests for comment.
To meet the terms of the grant, the company must maintain the baseline number plus the new, full-time jobs concurrently for at least six consecutive months.
McMillen is responsible for reporting to the Department of Commerce because the grant is provided to the local government, which lends the funds to the property owner in the form of a deferred, forgivable loan.
According to the terms of the grant, the local government acts as an intermediary partner for all aspects of the project — including the application process, reporting requirements, payments, and job verification.
McMillen said if the job creation goals are not met, a proportionate share of loan funds would be repaid by the property owner through a claw back provision in the loan performance agreement.
Semprius launched a pilot production plant in Henderson in September 2012 and had planned to create 256 jobs over five years.
Kim Genardo, a spokeswoman for the commerce department, said, “No state money has been approved for this project” as of July.
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