We'll Power Britain out of Recession; Solar Breakthrough Could Jump Start Hi-Tech Welsh Economy Says Ieuan

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Byline: RICHARD DOWN

HUNDREDS of new hi-tech green energy jobs are heading to North Wales.

Two major firms revealed plans to create 160 jobs each, as ministers said the region's manufacturing sector could help lift Britain out of the recession.

Corus Colors in Shotton has developed a pioneering new way to generate solar power with a technology that mimics the way plants work to harness the power of the sun.

The company now needs a workforce to mass produce superthin solar panels that can be glued on steel panels - meaning any building or structure could generate its own source of electricity.

The panels contain tiny pockets of chemicals in layers that work in the same way as plants do to create energy from the sun even on cloudy days - a process called photosynthesis.

The Assembly government has poured around pounds 5m into Corus Colors' PV Accelerator research project and yesterday the plans were unveiled to deputy first minister Ieuan Wyn Jones.

Mr Jones said the multi-million pound projects could position North Wales at the centre of national economic recovery and at the forefront of hi-tech manufacturing worldwide.

At neighbouring Shotton plant UPM Paper Mill the first minister heard plans to create a further 160 green energy jobs.

UPM has invested pounds 17m in the site, with pounds 1.7 million coming from the Assembly Government's single investment fund.

The facility sorts up to 200,000 tonnes of plastic bottles, cardboard, newspapers and metals, providing 20% of the recovered paper used as raw material in the mill''s paper production.

It will create up to 160 jobs when operating at full capacity. Construction is due to be completed by January 2011.

The Minister said: "Green jobs will play a key part in the development of the Welsh economy and modern recycling facilities like this one will be central to this. …