Session was productive one for state

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

During a one day special session on Friday we approved Senate Bill 2001 that provides $175 million in incentives for Calisolar and HCL Clean Tech, whose locations in Mississippi will create about 1,800 jobs.

Calisolar will open a plant in Columbus that employs 951 workers whose salaries will average $45,000 a year plus benefits. The state’s assistance is in the form of a secured $59.5 million loan for the building and equipment, along with $15.75 million in grants for infrastructure and workforce training. The company will invest $600 million and Lowndes County will assist to the tune of $14.1 million.

Calisolar, a Sunnyvale, Calif., based company, produces silicon castings for solar panels and other industrial purposes.

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During the 16-month construction phase that begins in early 2012, peak hiring is expected to reach 1,000.

HCL Clean Tech has proposed investing $1 billion to create a headquarters in Olive Branch, constructing three large scale commercial plants in the Booneville, Hattiesburg and Natchez areas and building a small scale commercial and research and development center in Grenada.

The company converts biomass to sugars that can be utilized as industrial bioproducts. They use a proprietary process to transform wood chips into cellulosic sugars that can be used for animal nutrition, surfactant, lubricants, cosmetics and fuel.

HCL Clean Tech will create 800 jobs paying average salaries of $67,000. The state will assist with a $100 million incentive package, consisting of a $95 million secured loan and a $5 million grant that can be used for either equipment, infrastructure or training.

More than 200 jobs will be in the Natchez area with an average salary of $65,000 plus benefits with another 200 plus jobs needed for construction.

Local incentives for the company have yet to be determined.

Also approved was a change to the existing Mississippi Advantage Jobs Rebate Program that will allow Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, to create 3,000 new jobs over the next four years. Those jobs will pay an average salary of $41,000 plus benefits.

If I can be of assistance, please call me at 601-359-3244 or e-mail me at

Sen. Bob Dearing is a Democrat representing Natchez in the Mississippi Senate.