Sun Shines For Kingspan Investment

Solar energy has received a boost today with news of a £47m expansion by a company specialising in the renewable energy sector.

The phased expansion, by Kingspan Renewables Ltd, aims to create 163 new jobs over the next five years.

It was announced this week by NI Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster who said that Kingspan Renewables designs and produces a range of high-tech products, including solar vacuum tubes, for the global market.

The Minister made the announcement as she officially opened a new advanced manufacturing facility in Portadown.

The Co Armagh facility is part of the major phased investment which commenced in 2009 and is being supported by an offer of £6.5m from Invest Northern Ireland.

With the new facility now operational, the project will create 163 new advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs and safeguard another 152 jobs, over the next five years.

It is now one of the world's most technologically advanced, solar equipment production sites and the vacuum tube produced is one of the highest performing in the marketplace.

Speaking at the opening, the Minister said: "The opening of this new and advanced facility is a significant boost for the local manufacturing sector.

"Not only does the new facility produce one of the highest performing solar vacuum tubes on the market but the new manufacturing line operates in a very efficient manner. This facility is an example of truly sustainable, high value manufacturing techniques.

"The solar products, now being manufactured in Portadown, are some of the most technologically advanced in the world.

"This, combined with the new jobs generating more than £5million per year in new salaries, reinforces Kingspan as an important and major contributor to the local economy," she said.
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"Last year, Invest NI worked to secure this major investment in the face of a global recession and against competition from other potential locations, including Eastern Europe.

"Their success in doing so reinforces Northern Ireland’s reputation as a global innovation hub and as a region increasingly focused on developing the capability of its growing renewable sector.

"Building a stronger and more dynamic economy is a key priority for the Northern Ireland Executive, and such investment and commitment from internationally renowned companies like Kingspan Renewables will bring us a step closer to achieving that objective."

SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly has wasted no time to welcome the investment of 100 jobs at Kingspan Renewables in Portadown.

She said today: "This is a great boost in a time of economic depression in an area that has been badly affected by the downturn.

"These jobs are to be welcomed and, hopefully, can act as a catalyst for further investment in employment in Portadown and the wider Upper Bann constituency."

Meanwhile, Noel Crowe, Managing Director of Kingspan Renewables and Environmental Division, commented: "This event signifies a key milestone for Kingspan as our phased investment plans, supported by Invest NI, come to fruition.

"As a result of the clear, competitive advantage that this new manufacturing facility provides, we envisage growing our sales four fold over the next five years. This will be supported by further collaborative research and development with the universities and other research establishments.

"We have already increased growth in key renewable energy markets and are confident that, as legislation develops, and demand for innovative and sustainable energy sources continues to increase, Kingspan Renewables will maintain its position as a market leader." he said.



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