Solar panel maker to open plant in Western NC

A solar panel manufacturer plans to open a facility in McDowell County and create 50 jobs over the next three years, Gov. Pat McCrory’s office announced Tuesday.

The Solar Connection will invest more than $500,000 in a manufacturing plant in Marion, about 40 miles east of Asheville. The plant will make photovoltaic solar cells and related products.

The average annual wage for the new jobs will be $23,920, plus benefits. That’s well below the McDowell County average of $30,349.

The Solar Connection is eligible to receive a $156,000 grant from the One North Carolina fund. The grant requires a local match, and the company must meet investment and job-creation milestones.

The company is a subsidiary of Boyle Enterprises.