Pisasale hoping sun shines on deal
AN ITALIAN solar power company preparing to set up a base in south-east Queensland has Ipswich squarely on its radar.
The System Group, which includes solar panel manufacturer System Photonics, wants to establish a 50,000sq m facility which would cost $110 million and create about 300 jobs.
The company is considering the Sunshine Coast and another location further north, in addition to Ipswich, and will not announce its decision until March next year.
Mayor Paul Pisasale – who first hinted at the company’s interest in the region a month ago – confirmed he’d been part of on-going negotiations with representatives from the System Group, but said he still could not promise anything.
“We’ve had some very strong negotiations and they are taking it back to Italy for their board to consider,” Cr Pisasale said.
“I was very pleased with the last meeting two weeks ago, and we have been exchanging emails with them on a daily basis.”
Cr Pisasale’s comments followed his Sunshine Coast counterparts in the local press on Tuesday, where they named Ipswich as their “aggressive” opponent in their quest to secure the System Group’s business.
The Sunshine Coast Daily report also spoke of System Group strategy consultant Enrico Fiore’s four-year association with the coast’s Italian community.
The Ipswich Mayor – whose birth name is “Paolo” and whose parents hail from Sicily – said he believed the Sunshine Coast had jumped the gun.
“I think Sunshine Coast Regional Council is premature in saying their strongest opposition is Ipswich,” Cr Pisasale said.
“We want to give due respect to the process. At the end of the day I promise people that I would not announce anything until I’m sure.”
Cr Pisasale did not wish to confirm which of Ipswich’s several industrial areas the System Group was interested in.
But he said the development could result in about 300 direct jobs and more than 1000 including construction.
System Photonics manufactures solar panels which can be integrated into the design of buildings – effectively allowing most of the surface area of a building to collect solar power.
The company is based in Modena, Italy, but has branches around the world.
Cr Pisasale said he had seen samples of the product and was impressed.
“No matter where the business ends up, I’m really pleased it’s coming to Queensland. And if it ends up in Ipswich, well that’s even better,” he said.