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Former Bethlehem Steel facility reopens to make solar trackers

Former Bethlehem Steel facility reopens to make solar trackers
Former Bethlehem Steel facility reopens to make solar trackers 02:18

LEETSDALE, Pa. (KDKA) — The historic Bethlehem Steel factory in Leetsdale is back in business.

But this time, BCI Steel and Nextracker are working together to serve the solar power industry. 

"This is a big day for BCI Steel," said CEO Matt Carroll. "We as a region have not been manufacturing here for a long time. We're fixing that, bringing it back to life."

Carroll said they'll help supply solar tracker parts in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other areas of the Heartland and Mid-Atlantic region. The trackers follow the sun and enhance solar energy.

He said the factory in Leetsdale is the perfect location since it's near the Ohio River, railway and I-79.

"From a transportation standpoint, it makes a lot of sense," said Carroll. "We're also in the valley. The workforce here — we've got second and third-generation steelworkers. We found some really really good ones." 

Carroll said there are about 70 positions, and they're still hiring.

He gave local and national leaders a tour of the facility on Tuesday.

"It's going to put a lot of our people to work, but it also shows our commitment to investing in the future," said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. "The bipartisan infrastructure law that was passed last year is going to put a lot of money into these types of projects and this type of investment in energy and sustainability, and it's an exciting time to be in Pittsburgh."  

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the ultimate goal is to be energy independent and only manufacture products in America. She said that the Steel City is leading the way.

"I chose Pittsburgh because Pittsburgh is the emblematic community that has risen from the ashes," said Granholm. "What we're seeing now is Pittsburgh is also leading in energy and in manufacturing and other countries want to learn what is it is that Pittsburgh did that made it successful."

Carroll believes this will be yet another success. He plans to send out the first shipment on July 11. 

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