By Ian Perrotta
Thanks to green technology, the city’s future prospects are getting rosier.
For the past year, entrepreneur Annette Wright and business partner Erwin Washington have been working to bring a solar panel manufacturing company to Hamtramck. Currently in the negotiating and planning phase with the city, once they find a suitable building it should be just a matter of months until the business is up and running.
The company, Unity Solar Systems, will manufacture solar panels for commercial and residential use. Along with bringing additional tax revenue into the city, it will also have the benefit of bringing some much-needed jobs to Hamtramck.
“We had the option of having a fully-functioning automated facility, which would have only employed one person per shift,” said Wright, “but we want to provide permanent, full-time jobs with benefits.”
Initially, the company plans to hire between 40 and 50 workers to staff its 12-megawatt facility. However, it plans to expand its capabilities after establishing itself, and many more jobs could potentially be added. Additionally, residual jobs will also be created by the need to sell and install the solar panels.
There will be other benefits for residents of the city as well. Wright says that she wants to put solar panels on every house in the city, potentially at no cost to the homeowner. Through renewable energy programs, she says that the panels would be purchased and maintained by private companies but would still provide energy property. Furthermore, unused energy can be sold back to DTE.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll be in business sometime around November or December,” says Wright. “I think Hamtramck is setting itself up to be a model city for renewable energy and green jobs.”