Incentives to lure Apple’s sapphire glass plant to Arizona revealed

“The Arizona Commerce Authority has offered a $10 million grant and other incentives to Apple to bring a high-tech manufacturing plant to a Mesa site, according documents released Tuesday,” Peter Corbett reports for The Arizona Republic. “The agreement for what is being called Project Cascade would create an estimated 1,300 construction jobs over two years and at least 700 full-time manufacturing jobs with an average wage not less than $45,000. Apple’s capital investment would total more than $1.5 billion, the authority said.”

“Apple’s business partner, GT Advanced Technologies, announced earlier this month that it would be setting up a plant in the former First Solar Inc. factory in east Mesa,” Corbett reports. “Apple bought the building for $113 million and will lease it to GT Advanced Technologies, a company based in New Hampshire that makes specialty glass for Apple products.”

“The Arizona Commerce Authority said that a third-party economic study estimated that Apple’s investment will generate more $102 million in tax revenue over five years. Project Cascade would also include development of at least one ‘solar farm’ to generate electricity at locations throughout Arizona,” Corbett reports. “The First Solar plant, which never opened, will have to be retrofitted for use by GT Advanced Technologies. The 1.3 million square-foot plant is southwest of Elliott and Signal Butte roads.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Analyst: Sapphire likely to be used in new small form factor Apple device (Think iWatch) – November 8, 2013
GTAT able to supply sapphire for over 30 million iPhone screen covers due to Apple funding – November 8, 2013
Apple’s iPhone 6 could feature unmatched sapphire glass display – November 7, 2013
Why Apple’s new sapphire manufacturing agreement is a big deal – November 7, 2013
GT Advanced Technologies spikes on sapphire deal with Apple – November 5, 2013
Apple expands ‘Made in USA’ efforts with sapphire glass factory in Arizona, creating over 2,000 jobs – November 4, 2013
Apple strikes sapphire supply deal with GT Advanced – November 4, 2013
Gorilla glass maker Corning enters into strategic partnership with Samsung Display – October 23, 2013
Sapphire glass may be used in 2014 iPhone Retina display, sources say – September 18, 2013
Vertu COO: Apple investigated sapphire crystal displays, but found them infeasible at this time – June 13, 2013
Corning’s Gorilla Glass vs. sapphire for mobile touch displays – May 28, 2013
Apple’s next iPhone screen could be made of Sapphire – May 2, 2013
Steve Jobs, steel balls and Corning’s Gorilla Glass (with video) – January 11, 2013


  1. First Solar was one of the largest recipients of the Obama administration’s Department of Energy financing receiving a total of $3.53 billion in loan guarantees. In April, First Solar announced plans to lay off 2,000 employees—about 30 percent of its workforce—and close a number of its facilities around the world.

    1. Apple is a much better use for the building. And a good use by the Arizona Commerce Authority — a $10 million grant which will generate an estimated $105 million in 5 years. Nice return on investment.

      Plus, there’s not a better place in the country to put up a solar farm. 355 days of sunshine per year!

    2. First Solar was an early investment of Goldman Sachs, the number two Top Obama Donor that gave more than $1 million dollars to his 2008 campaign––plus, the Obama administration is infested with Goldman Sachs executives:

      Two Goldman executives sat on Obama’s 2008 Finance Committee, Bruce Heyman and David Heller, while Heyman, along with Jennifer Scully, was also a 2008 Obama bundler. The biggest investors [in First Solar] include billionaire Ted Turner, a big financial backer of Obama’s 2008 campaign. Paul Tudor Jones, a billionaire investor and another Obama bundler, also owns a stake in First Solar.

      Obama ally and a member of “Patriotic Millionaires” (a group of wealthy Obama supporters backing the president’s effort to raise taxes on high-earners), is ultra-wealthy Obama supporter Whitney Tilson. One of the few “winners” in Tilson’s portfolio in 2011 was his short position in First Solar, a company on the brink of collapse, despite receiving $3.53 billion in federal loan guarantees from the Obama administration.

      Other Wealthy First Solar investors include Generation Investment Management (GIM) which was co-founded in 2004 by a former chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Former Vice President — and Apple Board member — Al Gore.

      Much, much more: The First Solar Swindle

      1. More fishiness involving Al Gore and “green energy” and, now, Apple Inc.

        Remove Gore from the Apple BoD before real damage and scandal occur (if it hasn’t already).

    3. @First 2000; never again: Most of those layoffs were abroad (Malaysia and Europe). First Solar changed its business plan to respond to the fierce (and unfair) competition from government subsidized Chinese manufacturers. In 2009 it had been the largest PV manufacturer in the world, concentrating on small, roof top panels. Realizing it couldn’t compete on price in panel manufacturing with the Chinese, rather than fall victim to the predatory attack in the way Solyndra did it changed its business model to one of installing and servicing utility companies’ large scale renewable energy needs.
      Following a loss in 2012 caused by the restructuring, it’s operations are profitable in 2013 despite a difficult worldwide market.
      And what has ANY of this to do with Apple/GT Advanced’s plans (the subject of the article)? I’d have thought you’d have posted something about how wrong it is for the AZ Government to interfere in the free market by offering incentives to huge corporations rather than focusing on a US company’s efforts to compete in an unfair market skewed by foreign government subsidies.

      1. First Solar got $3.5B in federal loan guarantees from the U.S. govt (Obama) and you claim firms subsidized by China were unfair competition.
        Sounds a little hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?

        Giving an incentive to companies with a future is good.
        Giving money to dead end, pie-in-the-sky (e.g. green energy) projects run by your campaign contributors is bad. All of Obama’s picks are losers — but his campaign contributors got rich. The American taxpayers are out $trillions.

    4. The biggest mistake in the loans to solar companies was failing to mitigate the risks by purchasing large quantities of their solar panel output to outfit government and military facilities. That would have given them time to establish themselves and advance their design and manufacturing technologies to better compete with the subsidized Chinese companies. This is very similar to the approach used for commercial cargo to low Earth orbit. The winners received contracts to deliver cargo to the ISS over a period of years. That was the only was to give these companies a chance to establish a sustainable operation and find new business opportunities for their cargo delivery infrastructure.

    5. The FUDpublican party created the economic disaster that led to the biggest U.S. economic collapse since the Great Depression. Now you snipe at Obama to cover your guilt from the trillions spent on a stupid invasion of Afghanistan and the once-again failed policies of trickle down economics. You blast Democrats for income redistribution, but your policies created the most imbalanced financial posture in the U.S. In memory.

      You have some valid gripes against the current Administration. But your party screwed up a lot, too. And you are compounding that by sacrificing the welfare of our country to further your political agendas. Quit trying to sabotage Obama and start trying to work towards solutions in a bipartisan manner.

      The entire political landscape in the U.S. makes me absolutely I’ll with disgust.

      1. I seriously doubt he was trying to cover his guilt. I’m an independent politically and not a defender of Republican strategy however, you also have to realize that we had 8 years of Clinton that set the stage for the housing crash via pressuring Congress to put pressure on lending institutions to decrease income lending requirements to further allow Americans to pursue the dream of home ownership w/o having to put up too much proof of income they claimed. 10s of thousands of loan officer will testify to that and did. We need to furlough all of Congress and start over.

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