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Violet Power to build at Port of Moses Lake

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | January 4, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Solar power startup Violet Power will build a production facility north of Moses Lake rather than leasing space, as it first announced.

According to Lisa Grove, Violet Power’s chief information officer, the company is in talks with Seattle-based ASPI Group, which owns a number of properties for industrial, commercial and residential development throughout Moses Lake, to “build-to-suit” on ASPI’s 435-acre industrial park at the Port of Moses Lake.

“We are planning on breaking ground at the end of January,” Grove wrote in an email to the Columbia Basin Herald. “The exact date is pending the schedules of a couple of dignitaries who are hoping to be there in person.”

Violet Power announced in mid-2020 it would build the first new integrated solar panel factory in the U.S. in the past several decades to make panels from scratch using solar-grade silicon from REC Solar, located in the industrial zone of Moses Lake on Wheeler Road. The Oregon-based startup was originally looking at leasing industrial space at a facility on Road N Northeast, across from REC’s production facility.

Grove said there was no public estimate for the cost of the facility, or the number of jobs it would create in the area, though Violet Power founder and CEO Charlie Gay originally cited around 1,000 jobs once the facility is up and running at full capacity.

“We are in the throes of the planning work and don’t have exact figures at this time,” Grove said.

Gay originally said the company was hoping to begin production in 2021 and produce around 500 megawatts of solar panels within the year. The company has not said how the change in plans will affect the anticipated production schedule.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

(An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Lisa Grove, Violet Power’s chief information officer.)