Solar systems factory breaks ground in North Las Vegas

A solar-power systems manufacturer has broken ground on a major production facility in North Las Vegas.

California-based Amonix announced this spring that it would open a factory in Southern Nevada, and on Thursday, dignitaries including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, all joined Amonix executives at the company's 214,000-square-foot plant on North Pecos Road to celebrate the project.

Amonix secured nearly $6 million in federal stimulus funds to help pay for the factory's build-out. The facility will turn out photovoltaic solar-power systems for installation in Nevada and neighboring states. Once it's at full capacity, the factory will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will annually yield solar equipment with a production capacity of 150 megawatts. The first phase is scheduled to come online in the first quarter.

The plant will bring 278 jobs to the Las Vegas Valley, and Amonix officials said they've already begun filling management, technical and production jobs for the operation.

The plant will contribute $118 million in payroll and $12 million in taxes to the local economy in its first five years, according to the Nevada Development Authority.