WATERTOWN – Convalt Energy is purchasing two buildings that were once part of the town’s industrial history and will now be used to store solar panel manufacturing equipment transported from Oregon.
The two buildings – the original New York Air Brake building on Purdy Street and part of the Black Clawson complex on Pearl Street – will be used for storage until the company’s massive solar panel manufacturing plant in the town of Hounsfield is operational.
David J. Zembiec, CEO of Jefferson County Economic Development, confirmed that the company will use both buildings for storage.
Equipment from a former solar panel factory in Oregon began arriving by truck on Monday. More than 200 trucks haul equipment from a former SunPower Corp plant. in Oregon.
“They started to arrive,” Mr Zembiec said. “They expected them to arrive on Tuesday and they started arriving on Monday.”
The former Black Clawson building at 511 Pearl St., most recently used by a scrap metal company, is a 70,000 square foot warehouse, while the Air Brake structure at 100 Purdy St. is currently 52,000 square feet. .
Hari Achuthan, CEO and Founder of Convalt, plans to invest $4 million to renovate the Air Brake structure, which needs a new roof and some walls. It will expand to 100,000 square feet of space, Zembiec said.
The rear section of the Air Brake Building, which once manufactured tanks during World War II, is still used by the Living Waters Fellowship Church.
The company is expected to receive site plan approval next month for its 330,000 square foot plant near Watertown International Airport on Route 12F.
Convalt wants to innovate by June 1.
The company hopes to receive a $300,000 bridging loan for the project from Watertown Local Development Corp.
In addition to the WLDC, the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency and the Sackets Harbor Local Development Corp. will participate in the financing of the bridge.