Article promotes CH2M HILL manufacturing site selection capability

June 17, 2013 - A new article in Photovoltaics International magazine promotes CH2M HILL's site selection capability supporting the solar industry. The article "Optimizing site selection decisions in a changing solar marketplace" was authored by I&AT advanced planning and site selection expert Dick Sheehy and project manager/ technologist Nate Monosoff.

The premise of the article is that while economic conditions have challenged the solar industry in recent years, solar energy has maintained its international appeal as a desirable renewable resource. Solar products continue to be manufactured, and those who figure out how to manufacture them profitably will enjoy the benefits of solar's market expansion.

An important key to figuring out how to manufacture solar products profitably is figuring out where to produce them. This article shares strategies and tools to help owners make the best informed choices about where to locate new manufacturing operations.

The article also addresses the potential trend of "reshoring," or returning of more manufacturing jobs to the U.S. This trend is thought to be driven by multiple factors, including transportation costs, decreases in U.S. energy costs, aggressive U.S. state incentive programs, and increases in manufacturing costs elsewhere in the world.

Reshoring is also being driven by geopolitics. In 2010 President Barack Obama set a goal of doubling American exports around the world by the start of 2015. In 2011, for the second straight year, the number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. increased, after declining every year since 1998. Since December 2009 the manufacturing sector has added 300,000 jobs, including 50,000 in January 2012 alone, the biggest monthly increase in a year. President Obama has proposed lowering tax rates for manufacturers to further fuel this trend.

Regardless of where manufacturers locate, they will benefit from the kinds of analytical processes reviewed in this article. For solar manufacturers considering U.S. locations, for instance, cost factors can vary considerably from state to state such as taxes (sales, property and income), incentives, labor, site and infrastructure development, construction and transportation costs.

The article discusses an effective quantitative site selection tool to analyze those factors -- the Net Present Value model -- a tool that CH2M HILL is very proficient at using. These models efficiently forecast and compare project cash flows and forecast cost of plant ownership for each manufacturing site under consideration.

For more about the strategic business planning and economic modeling processes CH2M HILL uses to support clients not just in the solar industry but in many industries, here's a link (PDF, 663.5KB) to the Photovoltaics International magazine article.

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