let the LIGHTin: European company Schott AG scheduled to open solar plant at Mesa del Sol in the spring

German high-tech glass industry giant Schott AG is bucking economic trends and is on schedule to open its new solar manufacturing plant at Mesa del Sol south of Albuquerque in spring, creating 350 jobs in the process, company officials said.

Green-vested construction workers gathered last week at the site for a lunch-time barbecue, a thank you from company management for their efforts getting the plant open on time.

The 250,000 square feet of building space being erected at the site includes two adjacent manufacturing plants to make equipment for two different types of devices used to generate electricity from the sun.

Schott has already hired about 100 workers, most of them locals, who have been traveling to Europe to train in the company's existing manufacturing operations, said Zane Rakes, a former Intel manager who came on last summer to head Schott's Albuquerque operations.

When the plants are up and running next spring, Schott expects to employ 350 people here, Rakes said.

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