Manufacturers Get Millions in Stimulus Funds

Several companies in the lighting and renewable arenas have received sizeable grants, tax credits and other financial incentives from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and other federal programs.

Acuity Brands, Inc., Atlanta, has been selected as an eligible recipient of Advanced Energy Manufacturing tax credits totaling approximately $772,000 for capital investments in production equipment at its Crawfordsville, Ind., and Wallingford, Conn., facilities. Funded by the ARRA, the tax credit supports investment in energy-saving technologies such as energy-efficient lighting fixtures and lighting control systems.

In the solar market, Energy Conversion Devices Inc., Rochester Hills, Mich., a manufacturer of thin-film flexible solar laminate products for the building integrated and commercial rooftop markets, said its affiliate United Solar Ovonic LLC has received a $13.3 million Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit was from the Department of Energy. United Solar Ovonic plans to invest $42 million in its Auburn Hills, Mich., facility to upgrade equipment used in its commercial solar deposition process. These improvements will lower the company's cost of manufacturing while increasing the efficiency of the solar laminates and are expected to create approximately 600 jobs in Michigan.

Energy Focus, Inc., Solon, Ohio, announced that its research and development team received three LED lighting awards totaling $1.6 million. Two of these awards, “Explosion-Proof Solid State Lighting for Extreme Environments” and “A Spectrally Dynamic Berth Light for Active Circadian Cycle Management” are Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The third award, “Innovative Solid State Lighting Replacements for Industrial and Test Facility Locations,” is a Phase 1 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program grant received from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

In other news at Energy Focus, the company's turnkey lighting retrofit division, Stones Rivers Companies LLC, was recently awarded two lighting energy services contracts totaling $2.1 million. These contracts are with two public-sector energy services companies (ESCOs) to upgrade the lighting in 60 buildings for a Tennessee municipality as well as for relighting several buildings on a Kentucky U.S. Army base. Energy Focus acquired Stones Rivers, which does both electrical contracting and energy services work, on Dec. 31.

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