Apple (IW 500/4) announced yesterday that it will open a new manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona, creating 700 jobs at the plant and 1,300 construction and other associated jobs.
The plant will be converted from an existing plant formerly used to make thin-film solar panels, which was previously owned by First Solar, according to Bloomberg News.
Apple will partner with mineral crystal specialist GT Advanced Technologies Inc. to make sapphire materials for Apple's popular electronics devices, as reported by Reuters.
According to reports the plant will run on 100% renewable energy. Sandra Watson, CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority said that the company’s ‘commitment to manufacturing that will rely on renewable energy further demonstrates its forward-thinking, progressive nature and Arizona's advanced capabilities in producing and delivering renewable power. Salt River Project has been instrumental in working with Apple to create additional advanced renewable energy sources that will power next-generation manufacturing.”
In addition to Salt River Project, a statewide collaborative effort led by the Arizona Commerce Authority in conjunction with partners the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the City of Mesa and Maricopa County assisted in bringing Apple to the location.
The fact that the location is in the U.S. did not go unnoticed.
"We’re happy to see Apple is taking its domestic manufacturing initiative seriously,” said Scott Paul, president of Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM). “Despite a recent rebound, the manufacturing sector has lost roughly 5 million jobs since 2000, which is a hole we won’t dig out of without policy supportfrom our elected officials in Washington. Still, it’s significant that one of the world’s most successful tech companies recognizes the value of making it in America. Hopefully this is the front end of a larger trend."