Milwaukee Focuses on Solar Hot Water Industry
Milwaukee is using the $650,000 federal stimulus package granted by the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar America Cities program to specifically develop industries related to solar hot water. The initiative, called Milwaukee Shines, will be formally announced at the 2010 Green Energy Summit being held March 24-26 at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that consultants from CH2M Hill concluded that the region "has some natural advantages with regard to components - the valves, the pipes, the metal tubing, the stamping, the metal fabrication and robotics...all of this is critical in the solar supply chain...something that Milwaukee could succeed at."
The Solar Hot Water Business Council has developed partnerships with industry leaders like Johnson Controls to help retool manufacturing facilities to meet the growing needs of the solar hot water industry. The initiative will also attract new factories. Helios USA and Ingeteam from Spain have already announced plans to build renewable energy manufacturing plants in the region. "We believe this could become a niche market for Milwaukee," commented Erick Shambarger from the Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability.