In what is being called the largest economic development project in Oklahoma's history, a green energy company has announced plans to build a $1 billion solar cell and panel manufacturing facility at the Tulsa Port of Inola.
Enel North America, through its affiliate 3Sun USA, says the factory is expected to create a thousand direct jobs by 2025. Construction of the over 2-million square foot facility is expected to begin this fall. The planned factory will be among the first in the country to produce solar cells. The first panels are expected to go to market by the end of 2024.
"We are proud to help usher in a new era of American-made energy and do so with a state that is already a leader in the energy industry. Our selection of Oklahoma is a testament to the strength of the Tulsa Port of Inola site, the state's commitment to workforce development, and an attractive investment climate," said Giovanni Bertolino, head of 3Sun USA. "With this announcement, we are taking a major step forward in developing a state-of-the-art PV factory, bringing hundreds of jobs and millions in long-term tax revenue, while moving Oklahoma to the forefront of renewables manufacturing."
"When I took office, I promised to bring Oklahoma to the world, and the world to Oklahoma; and today's historic announcement is a testament to that mission, our business-friendly environment and more of everything energy approach," said Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. "Enel's expansion is a huge win for Oklahoma, and I'm thrilled by their record investment in our state's economy and workforce, that will have a lasting legacy and continue to impact Oklahomans for generations."
Enel has been present in Oklahoma for over a decade during which time it has invested 3 billion USD to expand its footprint in the state, which now includes 13 wind farms and a regional office in Oklahoma City to support its growing workforce.
"The announcement of Enel's investment is a welcome outcome from our months of discussions with company leadership, legislative negotiations and work with site selectors and developers," said Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat . "I appreciate Enel for recognizing the potential in Oklahoma and choosing to expand their footprint here. I also thank my legislative colleagues for passing legislation this year to allow this expansion to happen. These are good, high paying jobs that will attract people to Oklahoma, in turn helping grow and diversify our economy."
"A project of this scale - bringing over a billion dollars of investment and millions in economic impact to our state - proves pro-business policies we have enacted in recent years are working," said House Speaker Charles McCall. "We have all the right conditions to continue to get projects of this magnitude, and we must continue to press even harder to make Oklahoma the most business-friendly, and family-friendly, state in the nation."
"We are proud to collaborate with our regional partners and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce for a business expansion effort that will bring long-term quality jobs to the Cherokee Nation Reservation," said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. "Cherokee Nation has consistently been at the local forefront of the movement towards a cleaner, more sustainable future. With Enel North America establishing a production facility in Rogers County, we are seeing a positive step forward in advancing alternative energy efforts and promoting green energy manufacturing in a Cherokee community. The talented workforce required for this kind of expansion will largely be Cherokee and it will have a tremendous economic impact for local families."
"We are excited to welcome Enel North America to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and look forward to the opportunities this partnership will bring including sustained regional job creation and growth, new economic prospects, and the development of workforce talent within the greater Tulsa area and our Reservation," said Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David Hill. "To strengthen the Nation's collaborative efforts with existing and in-coming partners like the Tulsa Regional Chamber and Enel North America, we also look to mobilize current tribal services such as Employment & Training and Tribal Transportation Services for the empowerment and betterment of our communities."
"Tulsa Ports is proud to welcome Enel's 3Sun solar panel manufacturing facility to the Tulsa Port of Inola. At the end of 2019, Public Service Company of Oklahoma transferred 2,200 acres of industrial land to Tulsa Ports so that we could develop the necessary infrastructure to attract high-impact economic development projects," said Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr., Board Chairman, Tulsa Ports. "With this exciting announcement, we are continuing to fulfill that shared vision and believe that Enel will be a great partner for the long-term economic success and development of the Tulsa Region and the State of Oklahoma."
"This project got off the ground last May when the Tulsa Regional Chamber and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce held meetings with an Enel executive during the PGA Men's Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. So, it speaks directly to how tourism can be the perfect gateway to economic development," said Arthur Jackson, senior vice president of economic development for the Tulsa Regional Chamber. "Enel North America has a global reputation for blazing new trails with clean energy, and this long-term commitment to Oklahoma as a solar panel supplier will shine a light on the Port of Inola and its ability to accommodate large-scale development."
"This is the largest economic development project in state history, bringing over a billion in investment into our state and hundreds of long-term jobs," said Brent Kisling, Executive Director, Department of Commerce. "It was a group effort to get this over the finish line, and we are thankful for the Governor, the Legislature, the Tulsa Port of Inola Industrial Park, Tulsa Regional Chamber and SelectUSA for coming alongside the Department of Commerce to get this deal done. The success of this project proves what we've known for a long time – Oklahoma can support mega projects, both in terms of sites and workforce, and this gives us exciting momentum as we seek more projects like this one."