Phil Bredesen, governor of Tennessee, said that there is a rise in the capital investment in the state’s solar industry as well as statewide growth in research and development, including: construction of polysilicon manufacturing facilities near Cleveland, Tennessee, by German chemical giant Wacker Chemie, and in Clarksville, Tennessee by Hemlock Semiconductor, represents a total investment of more than $2bn.

The state is investing $62.5m in research and energy production, including the creation of the Tennessee solar institute, a partnership of ORNL and the university of Tennessee. In mid-march, the Department of Energy (DOE) unveiled Tennessee valley energy enterprise, a concept to reuse federal sites at Oak Ridge and in the southeast for energy-related research in solar/photovoltaic, electrical grid enhancements, cleaner coal and work on hybrid vehicles.

Confluence Solar will develop its facility on a 25-acre site in the Clinton I-75 industrial park.

Jesse Smith, technology director of the Knoxville-Oak Ridge innovation valley partnership, said: “There should be no doubt in the business world that this region has the high tech workforce, the cutting edge research and affordable business costs that make it a solar economy leader.”