Uptown Greenville, NC


Boviet Solar bringing 908 jobs to the community by 2028

more than 900 jobs coming to Pitt County

Officials: Business climate, incentives help bring manufacturer to Greenville

State and local incentives valued at up to $16.8 million over 12 years, a strong local business climate and educational partnerships helped convince a Vietnamese company to pick Greenville for $300 million manufacturing plant that will employ 900 people, officials said.

Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday led a cadre of dignitaries at ECU’s Murphy Center in announcing that Boviet Solar will locate its first American solar panel manufacturing facility in Indigreen Corporate Park. The company plans a $294 million capital investment in the project, which includes refurbishing the former DENSO North Carolina facility at 1125 Sugg Parkway and construction of a 500,000-square-foot addition beginning in 2026, Zaochun “Jimmy” Xie, CEO and General Manager of Boviet Solar, said during the event.

The company plans to bring 908 jobs to the community by 2028, with Pitt Community College and East Carolina University working to provide a customized training program. Economic developers with the Greenville-ENC Alliance, city and county government leaders and many others worked for months with Boviet to promote the community. “The business environment is very friendly here, and the business philosophy definitely meets our business philosophy,” Xie said, speaking through an interpreter.

The state incentive, a Job Development Investment Grant approved by the state Economic Investment Committee shortly before the announcement, uses a formula that takes into account the tax revenues generated by the new jobs. The JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $8,279,000 spread over 12 years. State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of commerce and revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

Along with the state incentive, the Pitt County Board of Commissioners in December approved an economic development incentive that will return 70 percent of the net increased property taxes paid by the company over seven years. The increase is capped at $8 million, according to an earlier news report.

“This is huge for Greenville and Pitt County as well as the state of North Carolina as we continue to be a leader in clean energy,” said Kelly Andrews, Pitt County economic development director. “It’s huge for us to show we are a prime location in manufacturing.”

The City of Greenville is offering a job creation grant that provides incentives for each job created, about $100,000 a year for a five-year period, City Manager Michael Cowin said.

“This shows the commitment this (City) Council has for job growth,” Cowin said. “We know the lifeline for our community in job skills and jobs. That’s what we need to enhance the quality of life we have here in the City of Greenville.”

The Boviet Solar deal is the 40th economic development project announced in North Carolina this year, said Jordan Whichard, chief deputy secretary with the N.C. Department of Commerce, and it’s the largest job announcement in the state this year. It’s the largest job announcement ever for the Greenville and Pitt County and the largest in the state so far in 2024.

“Our economists predict that this project will lift North Carolina’s economy by more than $2.9 billion over the next 12 years,” Cooper said. “This is economic development that shows us how teamwork … and our amazing workforce keeps bringing advanced manufacturing jobs to our state.

“North Carolina is becoming an epicenter for clean energy, which is putting money in the pockets of North Carolina families and small businesses,” Cooper said.

“Our dreams of producing our PV (photovoltaic) modules in the U.S. finally come to realization,” Xie said. “We are proud of bringing our manufacturing excellence to our most important solar market, creating jobs, and making a positive impact on North Carolina’s economy. We are committed to expanding solar as a widely used renewable energy source in the U.S. and delivering locally made, top-performing PV modules to accelerate the advent of the global renewable revolution.”

The company will launch operations in two phases. The first will utilize the existing building to manufacture solar modules. Phase two will include building the new facility on 34 acres next to the existing site to manufacture PV cells.

Xie said the location is expected to output enough solar panels to generate two gigawatts of power annually and enough PV cells for another two gigawatts of power.

Another reason Boviet chose Greenville is because many of its customers are already in the area, Xie said.

The company started its search by visiting 60 locations in nine states. It narrowed its choice to Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina, the ENC Alliance said.

Boviet officials toured the former DENSO facility and spoke with the site’s previous owners and community leaders, said Uconda Dunn, the Alliance’s vice president of business development.

“They found we had the assets here that are needed to sustain their company and company growth,” Dunn said.

The project is important for the nation’s energy security, Cooper said.

“The world is moving to renewable energy and to make sure these solar panels are built not only in the United States but in North Carolina by North Carolina workers is a big deal,” the governor said. “Clean energy companies are looking at North Carolina because we are announcing job after job after job.”

The Alliance is working with PCC and ECU to develop the employee training for Boviet.

“We are going to do some pre-hiring with them, some skills upgrades for employees coming with them from Vietnam,” Dunn said. That includes English as a second language training so they can communicate with vendors in the community, she said.

Dunn said the company initially will bring about 20 employees from Vietnam to help with the launch. She doesn’t know the total number of Vietnamese employees that will be brought here, she said.

“We are proud of our city,” said City Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Monica Daniels. “Why wouldn’t we be proud? Greenville is the thriving hub of eastern North Carolina. We have a diverse base of manufacturers, top-notch educational instructions, state-of-the-art medical facilities and vibrate art. There are so many reasons to be proud and today I am thrilled that our city is getting even better.”

The more than 900 jobs will be hired through 2028 and include employees in production, equipment, process, quality, finance, IT, human resources, administration, and procurement. Annual wages will exceed the Pitt County average salary of $50,937.

Pitt County is truly honored that Boviet Solar selected this community, said Pitt County Commissioner Ann Floyd Huggins.

“We are not only announcing the selection of Pitt County for a new business that will bring strong economic growth to our community, we are celebrating the collaboration that developed and will continue to develop among Pitt County, our partners and this distinguished company,” Huggins said.

Key partners in the project include the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Community College System, Golden LEAF Foundation, Greenville ENC Alliance, Pitt County, ElectriCities of North Carolina, Greenville Utilities Commission, and City of Greenville.

“The professionalism, dedication, and enthusiasm of the staff from EDPNC, Greenville ENC Alliance, GUC, Pitt County, and City of Greenville provide huge support for the project and leads us to believe we will be part of the local economic development,” said Xie. “And of course, Greenville’s name hints at promising prospects for the renewable energy industry.”

Ginger Livingston can be contacted at glivingston@apgenc.com and 252-329-9570.