Diligent work on the part of the Osgood Town Board and their economic development representative, Brenda Wetzler, has netted big results â€“ ones that they hope will be far reaching for years to come.
The Town Board comprised of Linda Krinop, Dedee Holliday, and Norman Kappes, along with Wetzler and Ripley County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Gary Norman, have been working closely with Reinhard and Christine Peter, owners of Solarzentrum North America to bring their German-based company to Osgood.
They will be manufacturing PV-thermal solar panels, which will be provided through a myriad of outlets including government contracts for the military. They will also provide their product to hotels, restaurants, schools, dormitories, fitness clubs, gyms, fire departments, residential and much more, according to members of the Osgood Town Board. These solar panels are designed and constructed to heat, cool and provide hot water to the above facilities, which in turn helps to reduce the costs of utilities.
Solarzentrum will be providing distinguished and highly innovative solar power products to the North American market â€“ and in the process will play an important role in reducing US dependency on foreign fossil fuels.
"This is a big deal," noted Linda Krinop, president of the board. She continued by saying they are very impressed with this company, their mission, their future goals, and how community oriented they truly are.
Solarzentrum's goal is to have a temporary plant in operation before the end of this year. This will be located in Osgood, close to the site of the Osgood Business Park where their permanent plant will be located.
Wetzler admitted that the project had entailed a lot of hours getting everything to fall into place, but she said, "It has been worth it." She noted that the over $7 million dollar project will provide job opportunities throughout Ripley County and the surrounding area. "This is a path for economic growth for Osgood and the whole community," she noted.
Solarzentrum CEO Reinhard Peter will be finalizing the job descriptions for the different job opportunities and will then be accepting job applications. At first, the company will run the temporary plant on a "skeleton" crew, but eventually project to end up hiring over 140 people by 2016, which is their goal to be fully operational at the new plant in Osgood. "That's on the conservative side," noted Holliday, who said they will need skilled laborers, technology, engineers, electricians, plumbers, and unskilled labor for the jobs.