NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (Aug. 23, 1:10 p.m. ET) — The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation has awarded film manufacturer Toray Plastics America Inc. $1 million toward a solar array at its North Kingstown headquarters.
The move comes as politicians fight competition for Virginia for the next Toray expansion.
EDC on May 22. awarded Toray a $750,000 grant through its Renewable Energy Fund and another $250,000 in federal stimulus funding through the Rhode Island Business Energy Assistance Program. The grant package would enable construction of a 375-kilowatt solar energy project.
“Rhode Island is taking concrete steps to help businesses such as Toray, which employs approximately 600 Rhode Islanders, remain competitive through reduction in their utility costs and increased energy efficiency,” Gov. Lincoln Chafee said in an Aug. 23 news release.
According to the release, the combined $1 million in renewable energy funding for Toray is a revision of a previously approved $250,000 grant and a $500,000 loan for the company's solar energy project.
Over the past 25 years, Toray has made more than $750 million in investments in its Rhode Island facilities. Toray also has plans to expand its operations with another $11 million investment that includes the creation of 30 new jobs and the possibility of an additional long-term real estate and business expansion of up to $200 million and 200 new jobs.
Toray Plastics America President and CEO Richard Schloesser attended the EDC meeting, but was noncommittal about the company's $200 million expansion, New England news media reported. Schlosser has said that he has received offers from Virginia to lure Toray south.
Schloesser was unavailable for comment.
Toray Plastics America is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Toray Industries, Inc. The parent company operates 127 facilities in 18 countries. Its sales are about $13 billion annually and Toray Industries employs 32,000.
The Boston Globe reported Aug. 23 that Rhode Island state Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and House Speaker Gordon Fox were planning a trip to Japan to lobby for Toray to remain in their state, but that plans were not finalized.
The Providence Journal reported that Virginia officials made a trip to Tokyo to present their case earlier this year.