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KACO inverter plant brings jobs, clean energy and business opportunities to San Antonio
By Christine Patmon on December 12, 2013
The benefits of the New Energy Economy keep coming.
KACO new energy celebrated the grand opening of its 40,000 square foot office and manufacturing space on San Antonio’s near Eastside this week with an event that drew KACO executives from Germany and California. Two dozen of 70 new jobs have already been created at the company’s only U.S. manufacturing facility outside its California base.
CPS Energy employees joined executives and employees with OCI Solar Power, Nexolon America, the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation and others to hear about KACO’s history, growth and success.
The company’s clean, almost sterile space is stunningly simplistic for what you would expect of such a complicated business. KACO makes inverters that convert DC power produced by thousands of solar panels into AC power so it can be sent to the electrical grid, and ultimately, local homes and businesses.
In a short tour of the plant, Volker Heuser, who leads the company’s global manufacturing operations, talked about the need for local suppliers to supply parts and the company’s plan to start building a new inverter system. Local suppliers would help KACO cut costs compared to shipping the same materials from elsewhere, Heuser said.
It’s all part of the nearly $1 billion economic impact local experts say will result from the New Energy Economy, which is providing opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs. Another benefit is the buzz generated by new talent who are making our warm and culturally diverse city a place they call home.
Tom Long, Executive Vice President of Business Recruitment for the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, shared details about efforts to find homes for New Energy Economy transplants. Then there’s the challenge of going through the process twice when companies like ERCAM Trackers outgrow their initial space, forcing a second move to accommodate growth. These are all good problems to have for both EDF and owners of vacant spaces that need tenants.
Conversations like this took place at an event catered by a local company with a local dee-jay slinging Texas tunes for a crowd that had booked multiple hotel stays, paid many restaurant tabs, rented cars, and enjoyed local attractions, further fueling our local economy.
Want in on the action? Learn more about opportunities for local suppliers and check out a supplier job fair this weekend at the Norris Conference Center or CPS Energy’s Veterans Symposium and Expo in January.