Clinton solar prospect has local ties

Missouri-based solar start-up Confluence Solar is the firm eyeing property in Clinton for a manufacturing facility, and one of its principals formerly worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

According to a variety of news reports over the past year, Confluence has been seeking a location to set up production headquarters for a silicon processing facility since early last year, with Tennessee one of the states under consideration. Reports indicated the company has also considered sites in Missouri, Michigan and Alabama for the plant. In November, the Clinton City Council approved the sale of land to an unnamed solar company. The site would be 25 to 40 acres in the Clinton/Interstate 75 Industrial Park, according to previous News Sentinel reports. The $400 million facility would create 400 local jobs.

John DeLuca, technical advisor for the St. Louis-based firm, worked at ORNL in nuclear materials research, according to the company’s website. ORNL spokesman Bill Cabage said a J.P. DeLuca worked at the lab from 1969 to 1971 in the then metals & ceramics division.

Confluence was founded in 2007 and is backed by Convexa Capital of Oslo, Norway, which led a $12.7 million venture investment into the firm last year. Confluence refines silicon material into high quality single crystals used in solar applications.

“Founded by semiconductor industry veterans, Confluence Solar utilizes certain cost effective manufacturing technologies originally developed for semiconductors applications to the production of single crystals for the solar market,” the website says.

A Confluence spokeswoman would not comment on its plans for the plant, writing in an email, “We will be in touch once we are able to share details on our site selection decision.”

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