Local officials hope to find new potential tenants for a sprawling, unfinished factory in central Indiana since the solar panel maker that planned to take it over is halting operations.
Abound Solar was to build solar panels at the factory near Tipton and eventually employ 800 to 1,000 people as part of a $400 million federal loan guarantee announced by President Barack Obama in 2010 for company expansions in Indiana and Colorado.
The Colorado-based company said Thursday it would file for bankruptcy protection, citing stiff competition from government-subsidized companies in China.
Tipton County Commissioner Jane Harper said the county would work with the owner of the 850,000-square-foot building along U.S. 31 to find new businesses for it.
"We're obviously very disappointed and sad about the announcement," Harper said. "What can you do but remain optimistic?"
The site about 35 miles north of Indianapolis originally had been planned as a 1,400-worker factory that would make transmissions for Chrysler until German auto parts maker Getrag stopped construction in 2008.
Abound Solar had received about $70 million from the Energy Department before officials froze its credit line last year.
Steps to begin production at the Tipton plan never started and hopes for that happening faded in February when the company cut its Colorado workforce by about 70 percent.
Abound hadn't yet received any state tax incentives, Indiana Economic Development Corp. spokeswoman Katelyn Hancock told The Indianapolis Star.
"Abound Solar showed a lot of promise, and it is unfortunate for Hoosiers that the company's plans in Tipton have not come to fruition," Hancock said.
Mike Cline, president of the Tipton County commissioners, said local leaders had been in limbo with Abound since its February cutbacks. He said it could've been worse if the company had started production and then had to lay off workers.
"Now we know the building will be available," Cline said.
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