(Senatobia, MS) By now, Senatobia leaders had hoped to see as many as 500 cars in the parking lot a new plant in the town's industrial park.
Instead, the once highly touted Twin Creeks solar plant sits mostly empty.
It had once promised a bright high-tech future, but City officials started noticing the light start to dim.
”We realized a couple of months ago maybe as much as last year, that things probably weren’t going the way the business plan was," said Senatobia Mayor Alan Callicott.
What caused the slowdown? Those in the know say it was sudden and intense competition from China
When Twin creeks first formulated its business plan, managers figured on a healthy profit margin, but as Chinese manufacturers stepped into the industry, those profit margins started to shrink.
That’s primarily because Chinese workers generally make far less than their American counterparts.
Mississippi provided a 15 million dollar loan to get the Senatobia plant built and kicked in another 4 million for infrastructure.
State Development officials say Twin Creeks has kept up with the terms of its contract, so for now, taxpayers aren’t on the hook, for much, if anything.
Twin Creeks isn’t saying much about its plans, though its website is maintaining a “demonstration plant” here.
”We’re not sure where we go from here," said the Mayor.
Mississippi and Senatobia have started shopping the plant around, and so far they’re encouraged.
”We’ve already had some interest shown in that facility, so again, our bottom line is gonna be jobs, and that’s what we’re huntin’ for."
Senatobia still hopes to see those 500 plus cars in the parking lot no matter who takes up residence in the shiny high-tech building.