Sunovia Energy Technologies Plans to Triple Facility, Add 68 Employees in Move to Sarasota County

Sunovia Energy Technologies Inc., which designs, develops and markets highly efficient renewable energy and energy conservation products in the solar and LED lighting industries, plans to triple the size of its facility and add 68 employees over three years after relocating to Sarasota County this year.

The EDC assisted the company with local performance-based incentives aimed at bringing good jobs to Sarasota County. "Sunovia Energy Technologies is an innovative, green-industry company that offers the high-quality jobs we need in Sarasota County," said Kathy Baylis, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County. The EDC assisted the company in applying for an incentive from Sarasota County based on creating jobs that exceed the average annual wage in the county.

The company is relocating from a 5,500 sq. ft. facility in South Manatee County. According to Carl Smith, the company's CEO, Sunovia needed a larger facility and wanted a more centralized location near I-75, both factors that will be accommodated in the company's new, 18,000 sq. ft. location in the Centennial Commerce Center at Cattlemen and Fruitville roads. The company, which has 20 employees, is expanding to meet growing demand for its products, which has prompted an increase in sales force, engineering and manufacturing teams, and operations personnel.

"Cities and neighborhoods everywhere are either considering or actively installing LED (light-emitting diode) lighting," Smith said. "Our EvoLucia® LED lights provide the highest-quality illumination while reducing energy use, maintenance costs and carbon emissions. In addition, we expect to bring to market in 2011 our newest innovation: one of the most cost- and energy-efficient, highly scalable solar cell systems ever created. We are using proprietary technology that has been thoroughly tested and validated by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Lab."

Sunovia's EvoLucia Lighting division is producing ultra-high-efficiency, environmentally friendly LED lighting solutions for municipalities, universities and corporations. According to the Department of Energy, over the next 20 years rapid adoption of LED lighting can reduce electricity demands by 62 percent, eliminate 258 million metric tons of carbon emissions, avoid building 133 new power plants, and generate financial savings of $280 billion.

Sarasota County Government encouraged Sunovia's move with a performance-based incentive grant, which could total $100,000 over three years as the company follows through with plans to add 68 employees and provide an average annual wage exceeding the county average. "Sunovia is just the kind of employer we want in Sarasota County," said Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta. "It's an innovative company in a growth industry, and Sunovia offers the high-quality jobs that will benefit our residents and our local economy. The performance-based incentive grants help give us an edge in encouraging companies like Sunovia to bring their jobs to our community."

"The EDC's help and support in securing the incentive grant was an important factor in our relocation," Smith said. Initially, the company plans to add five employees in sales and administrative support roles, he said. Over time, Sunovia will hire for positions in engineering, manufacturing and operations. The company also will invest in software and hardware for operations, engineering and quick-turn small-batch manufacturing. Large-scale manufacturing will still be outsourced to a contract manufacturer in North Carolina.

The EDC of Sarasota County is the private, not-for-profit corporation leading the community's economic development strategy to add high-wage jobs and diversify the local economy. The EDC provides business assistance to companies in Sarasota County and helps forge solutions to community challenges that affect quality of life. The EDC works in partnership with chambers of commerce, local governments and other organizations throughout the county and the region.

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