HUNTINGTON — Steel of West Virginia celebrated a 10-year partnership of supplying SOLV Energy with the steel piles used in solar energy projects during a ceremony Monday morning at the plant in Huntington.
“Our customers in this region have supplied and produced over 200 jobs in the last five years that didn’t exist prior to our solar market,” said Chuck Abbott, general manager of Steel of West Virginia. “We saw, over 10 years ago, a need for that industry to have a support of an I-beam into their product line to support their solar panels, so today we are here to celebrate our 10-year partnership with SOLV Energy.”
SOLV Energy CEO George Hershman said his company has purchased $150 million worth of steel from the Huntington facility during the decade-long partnership.
“While that is an impressive figure, the reality is with the growth of the clean energy market in the U.S. we will do that over the next three years,” he said. “We’re seeing a huge growth opportunity in our company.”
SOLV Energy started in 2008 and is now the largest solar contractor in the country.
“We have 4,000 employees, and with an amazing partner like Steel of West Virginia, we have been able to build projects in 22 states,” Hershman said. “We were able to do this because we have a reliable supply chain with Steel of West Virginia.”
Abbott added that Steel of West Virginia is the largest recycler in the state and its electric arc furnaces have one-eighth the total emissions, one-third the greenhouses gases and one-fourth of the energy usage of offshore blast furnaces.
“We are trying to build a greener future, and we have several customers that are talking about restoring their plants back to the United States,” he said.
The event was attended by Huntington Mayor Steve Williams; Mike Browning, outreach manager, office of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Charlotte Weber, director of the Robert C. Byrd Institute; and United Steelworkers District 8 Rapid Response Coordinator Chad Conley.
“Steel of West Virginia in Huntington, West Virginia, is the largest private employer within our community with over 500 employees with an over 9-to-1 ratio in supporting jobs impact, meaning over 4,500 employees are supported in this area,” Williams said.
The other speakers highlighted the role that steel plays in the energy sector and how manufacturing and energy tax credits can encourage additional private sector investments, strengthening and broadening West Virginia and the country’s manufacturing base, preserving good union jobs and contributing to the nation’s economy.
Steel of West Virginia supports steel products to approximately 25% of the entire North American solar market, Williams added, and it’s important that federal tax credits should go to United States steel manufacturers.
“We have companies here losing projects because of the subsidies obtained from our tax dollars for foreign steel to be brought into our area,” he said. “We have to make sure that ‘Buy U.S.A.’ has to be part of any future tax credits to drive solar and renewable energy within the United States.”
Conley said the United Steel Workers, including Local 37 in Huntington, are calling for a federal budget reconciliation package that would only give green energy tax credits and infrastructure projects to companies that employ American workers with worker safety standards installing American-made products, including American steel.
“Our union joins others here today calling for a budget reconciliation bill that provides energy and manufacturing tax credits and incentives for American-made materials,” he …….