Suniva Inc. to move to Norcross
Company encouraged by incentives

ATLANTA - A solar cell manufacturer is relocating to Norcross from Atlanta, encouraged by $10 million worth of incentives.

John Baumstark, Suniva Inc.'s CEO, said the company will bring about 100 high wage jobs during its first year in Norcross, as well as a capital investment of about $75 million. It's the state's first manufacturer of solar cells, Gov. Sonny Perdue said.

The company accepted $10 million in state, county and city incentives offered through a joint effort by Partnership Gwinnett and the Gwinnett and Metro Atlanta Chambers of Commerce, Perdue said.

Suniva will pay no city, county, state or school taxes its first year, under the terms of the abatement, of which Gwinnett's portion is $4.8 million. Suniva will begin paying taxes its second year in Norcross and will add a percentage to the amount it pays until the 11th year, when it will pay its full share of property taxes, said Nick Masino, the Gwinnett Chamber's vice president for economic development.

Norcross City Manager Warren Hutmacher did not immediately return calls requesting the dollar amount of Norcross' portion of the tax abatement. The cost is worth it to bring Suniva into the city, Mayor Bucky Johnson said.

"Their CEOs and that level of pay will bring money to the city, into our restaurants, our hotels," Johnson said. "Maybe they will buy houses."

Suniva was founded by Ajeet Rohatgi at the Georgia Institute of Technology's University Center of Excellence in Photovoltaics. Perdue said the move was an effort to retain homegrown Georgia companies and to attract more "green collar" jobs to the state.

The cells that Suniva manufactures could be used to gather sunlight that would power a car, Baumstark said. As the cost of gas soars, Perdue called solar energy a "micro solution to a macro problem.

"It's an example of using what we are good at," Perdue said. "We are well blessed with sun."