A New Mexico-based solar product manufacturer is planning an expansion into Nacogdoches that includes up to 100 new jobs

Solaro Energy this week opened up shop on the corner of South Fredonia and South streets and is looking to open a larger site within the year.

The company’s products include a solar powered attic fan as well as basement ventilation systems developed by owner and founder Dennis Grubb, who also developed one of the world’s first tubular skylights.

Grubb in November of 2018 met Nacogdoches manufacturer Matt Turner of Turner Fabrication. Grubb says he was drawn to the work ethic and business-friendly atmosphere in Texas and has also expressed interest in partnering with SFA to develop new technology, according to an announcement from NEDCO.

The company’s expansion into the pineywoods is multiphase. Nacogdoches City Council this evening will consider granting a special use permit a light industrial use at a seven-acre location on Stallings Drive.

The property is currently vacant, with commercial and industrial uses nearby. The Nacogdoches Planning and Zoning Commission on July 8 unanimously recommended approval of the permit.

“This development if approved will not be the only industrial in that zone,” City Planning Leo Mantey said. “Considering the location of the site, we believe the manufacturer wants to take advantage of the Loop for hauling of products — we believe it’s a good location.”

The site plan includes a building with landscaping, setbacks and parking, he said.

Nacogdoches resident Michelle Ray has been hired as production manager of local facility and recently visited the Socorro site.

“It’s amazingly clean and the owner, Mr. Grubbs, is very meticulous,” she told P&Z members.

Expected to create up to 100 jobs, the Stallings Drive operation would be the first of its kind in the city.

Based in Socorro, New Mexico — about 190 miles north of El Paso — Solaro produces a range of solar-powered products for residential and commercial use, including ventilation, lighting and off-grid power systems, according to the company’s website. Solaro has approved dealers in six Texas locations, including Houston and Dallas.

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