MEBANE, N.C. (WGHP) – A lithium battery manufacturer with an outlet in Greensboro has received state incentives to open a new facility in Alamance County.

Sunlight Batteries USA, which employs about 60 in Greensboro, will bring about 133 new jobs to Mebane by 2025.

The Economic Investment Committee of the North Carolina Department of Commerce unanimously approved a Job Development Investment Grant of about $1.56 million – with two stipulations – to help the company expand its output.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (AP Photo/Bryan Anderson, File)

Sunlight builds lead and lithium-ion batteries at a rate of about 35 per day. Its goal, according to the DOC’s information, is to increase to 75 to 100 per day by running three shifts.

The caveats to qualify for the grant are that the company must adopt an ethics policy – state law requires grantees to have such a document – and that it brings inside its hiring and payroll processes rather than use a contractor.

“Demand is growing for clean energy components like batteries, and North Carolina is at the forefront of this industry of the future,” N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper said in a release. “Companies like Sunlight Batteries are bringing new jobs and new investment to Alamance County, thanks to North Carolina’s commitment to clean energy and innovation.”

State Sen. Amy Galey (R-Alamance)
State Rep. Ricky Hurtado (D-Graham)

Said State Sen. Amy Galey (R-Alamance): “We’re proud that this company’s confidence in our community results in new jobs and prosperity to the people of our region.”

Said state Rep. Ricky Hurtado (D-Graham): “Many people worked hard behind the scenes to make this day possible. We’re delighted that Sunlight Batteries has chosen to expand in our state and it’s great that Alamance County and Mebane are seeing the benefits of North Carolina’s growing clean energy economy.”

The jobs will pay an average minimum average salary of $67,589 – nearly 50% above the county’s average income – and the company will invest $40 million by Dec. 31, 2023. The company also will retain 53 existing positions.

The state grant is for $1.361 million along with $340,000 in community college training. Alamance County has thrown in $50,000 to beat out Charleston and Hardeeville, South Carolina.

State economists estimate that by 2034 the facility will contribute $391 million to the state’s gross domestic product and increase state revenue by $9.7 million.

“Sunlight’s expansion in Mebane is yet another milestone in our growth plan for the U.S. market,” CEO Todd Sechrist said in the release. “The 134,000-square-feet facility will create over 130 new jobs in Alamance County and will serve the region by bringing lithium-ion batteries and battery charging solutions to the Americas market.

“We appreciate the confidence the state of North Carolina and the community has in Sunlight as a partner in the green economy and decarbonized energy.”

Big-money jobs in Wilmington

The EIC also unanimously improved $2.053 million in a JDIG for Live Oak Bancshares Inc., which is headquartered in Wilmington, to bring 204 high-paying jobs to Wilmington and New Hanover County.

These positions, to be hired by 2026, build on 673 existing jobs and will pay an average annual minimum salary of $101,758. The company handles lending and deposits for small businesses nationally.

The company will invest $25 million by Dec. 31, 2026, and agrees to retain 643 jobs in New Hanover County and another 30 affiliated positions.

There were no other state incentives – community college training no longer is available – but Wilmington and New Hanover County added about $500,000 incentives to beat out Boston, Dallas and the states of Texas and Georgia.

State economists say this investment will return $1.1 billion to the state’s GDP by 2034 and increase state revenue growth by $34 million.