Convalt Energy: customers ready to buy even before plant is built

Convalt Energy sign(WWNY)
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 4:27 PM EST

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Financing continues to be put in place for Watertown’s new solar manufacturing facility. But, even before the plant is built, the CEO says customers are ready to buy the product.

An 88-acre plot of land near the Watertown International Airport continues to get cleared, as Convalt Energy moves forward with plans to build a 300,000-square-foot solar panel manufacturing plant. It would employ hundreds of people.

The company’s chief executive officer, Hari Achutan, says more than half of what the plant will produce is already spoken for.

“Basically taking 60 to 70 percent of our capacity,” he said.

Achutan says that will create cash flow for his business. Jefferson County economic leaders see it as a good thing too.

“That’s a good sign that he’s getting orders in for that plant - use of income,” said Dave Zembiec, CEO of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency.

But until the plant is built, no sales can happen. Achutan needs to secure financing for the multi-million dollar project and is choosing the best deal he can from different lenders.

“Where I think we’re lacking at the moment is building relationships with the local banks,” he said.

Achutan has hired 40 people so far and says hiring hundreds more is still part of the plan. He hopes to start this summer.

“At that point, we’ll go in and look at how we balance out between hiring locals, some veterans, you know, having a mix,” he said.

As for the next immediate step for Convalt Energy, Zembiec says in the next month or so it needs to finalize its finances with the agency so that it can officially begin construction.