HomeSouth CarolinaSilfab Solar's $150 million investment sparks debate in Fort Mill community

Silfab Solar’s $150 million investment sparks debate in Fort Mill community

Fort Mill, South Carolina – More and more people in Fort Mill are worried about a proposed solar manufacturing plant by Silfab Solar from Canada. Silfab, which just set up a massive distribution center covering almost 800,000 square feet in the area, wants to change it into a manufacturing plant. They’re planning to invest $150 million to make this happen. This move could create lots of jobs, with hourly workers starting at $19 per hour and salaried employees earning around $60,000 per year, plus benefits.

“Domestic production of solar cells represents a strategic opportunity to manage our own U.S. supply chain and bring cell manufacturing to the U.S.,” the company told The Post and Courier. “Currently cells are primarily manufactured in China and we are happy to start this production in the U.S.”

Despite the job opportunities, some Fort Mill residents are against the plant. They’re worried because the plant would use a bunch of dangerous chemicals. South Carolina’s DHEC listed some of the chemicals that got people really concerned:

  • Toluene: The plant plans to use 132 gallons per year of Toluene, a DHEC Category 3 pollutant, which is the most hazardous class. Toluene can cause death or permanent injury after brief exposure to small quantities, and an undisclosed amount is stored on-site.
  • Hydrogen Fluoride (HF): The plant plans on storing 15,850 gallons of Hydrogen Fluoride in two tanks, with weekly refills. HF is classified as a DHEC Category 3 pollutant. The release of HF, even below the concentration limit, requires a mandatory ½ mile evacuation.
  • Silane: The plant would use a 22,983-gallon tank filled with this chemical. Silane is a highly flammable and toxic gas that could explode on contact with air.

Read also: Florence County School District 2 seeks $7 million bond approval for critical upgrades

The solar plant being so close to two new schools off Gold Hill Road is making a lot of people worried about safety. There’s a plan for emergencies that says if something big happens, like a major accident, everyone within a mile might need to evacuate. Debi Cloninger, a member of the York County Council, talked to the Fort Mill Sun about this. She said that four engineers looked into Silfab’s application with DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) and found some really concerning stuff.

“My greatest concerns are the 2,000 students who are only 1,300 feet away from these hazardous chemicals,” Cloninger told the local outlet.

Next week, York County is going to talk about whether to let the plant be rezoned. The Board of Zoning Appeals is meeting on Thursday, May 9th, at 6:00 PM at 6 S. Congress Street in York to decide if they’ll approve the Silfab plant. People who are against the new plant are asking others to come to the meeting and speak out against it.

Read also: Duke Energy boosts clean energy capacity in Salem, South Carolina

There is also a growing online petition against the new plant.

Latest

Biden’s inappropriate comments in Georgia could push Black voters even further away from him

With less than six months until the November general...

Stark warning for Biden: Florida Congressman impeachment threat gains momentum

As all eyes are on Trump’s hush-money trial in...

California Gov. Newsom issues dire alert on ‘corrupted’ Trump’s plan that could ruin America

The American public continues to hunger for official information...

Newsletter

From the web

Biden’s inappropriate comments in Georgia could push Black voters even further away from him

With less than six months until the November general election, the presidential race seems to be so tied that surveys show each candidate currently...

Stark warning for Biden: Florida Congressman impeachment threat gains momentum

As all eyes are on Trump’s hush-money trial in New York, things could soon take a sudden turn after a Florida Congressman is reportedly...

California Gov. Newsom issues dire alert on ‘corrupted’ Trump’s plan that could ruin America

The American public continues to hunger for official information and details about a recent Florida meeting between former president Donald Trump and top oil...