he nation’s leading companies are on the hunt for locations that are ready-made with advantages that will support their operations and growth for decades.
Wilmer, Texas, located about 15 miles southeast of downtown Dallas, has built a reputation as a logistics hub supporting Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool, Ace Hardware and Medline.
The region as a whole, incorporating the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area, is ranked No. 3 in the nation for Fortune 500 HQs, supporting 24 as of 2023. Attracting these giants is no simple feat, and while the metro region has experienced an impressive boom in terms of economic development, the most important draw to Wilmer has been its availability of sites for companies looking to set up shop.
Trina Solar will begin producing its first U.S. solar PV modules from Wilmer, Texas, in 2024.
Photo courtesy of Trina Solar
After steady growth over the past decade, Wilmer was home to just over 5,300 residents according to 2021 U.S. Census data. Its ideal location connects directly to Interstates 20, 35, 45, future state highway Loop 9 and three regional and international airports with direct access to a rich talent pool of over 2 million. With five industrial parks at shovel-ready status the city is primed to get businesses up and running as soon as they arrive.
Over the next two years, two new projects will come to life in the city. These projects not only diversify the city’s traditional industry investment but indicate how prepared Wilmer is to exceed the needs of businesses that have chosen to locate in Texas.
Sunny Days Ahead
In 2024, Trina Solar, a global leader in smart solar products and solutions, will begin operations at its 1.35-million-sq.-ft. solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing plant in the city.
This massive facility is where the Chinese company will begin producing large power output Vertex 5 Gigawatt modules, which incorporate 210-millimeter wafers and polysilicon sourced from both the U.S. and Europe. By investing $200 million in this project the company has established its first module factory in the Western Hemisphere. Once operational, the facility will create 1,500 jobs in the region.
“We have long had a vision to manufacture solar products in the United States, and we are proud of the jobs we are creating and the investment we are making in the Wilmer community,” said Trina Solar US President Steven Zhu. “Trina’s goal in building this facility is to begin to create an ecosystem of American manufacturing that can serve the burgeoning U.S. solar market.”
Trina selected Wilmer due to the ability to expand this site in the future. Texas as a whole has become a hotspot for solar energy investment, pulling in $21 billion in Q1 of 2023, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The industry is new to the city itself, which means Wilmer is primed for further solar supply chain investment thanks to its industrial space, land and incentives to support this growth.
Built to Last
There was an abundance of reasons Stream Data Centers decided to build its 12th Texas built-to-suit location in Wilmer. Low cost and reliable power, tax incentives, renewable energy sources, pristine network connectivity and the region’s overall potential were just a few.
“The City of Wilmer has been a great partner throughout the process and Oncor has been fantastic to work with,” says Stream Data Centers CCO Chris Bair.
It’s not the only way Oncor engages with the community: For several years the largest energy delivery company in Texas has been an industry partner in the Pathways to Technology Early College High School model at Wilmer-Hutchins High School, where associate degrees and work experience can help students get an early start on career tracks in construction management and energy sustainability.
“We have long had a vision to manufacture solar products in the United States, and we are proud of the jobs we are creating and the investment we are making in the Wilmer community. Trina’s goal in building this facility is to begin to create an ecosystem of American manufacturing that can serve the burgeoning U.S. solar market.”
— Trina Solar US President Steven Zhu
Stream builds its turnkey data centers catered specifically to the needs of its customer base of Fortune 100 companies within hyperscale, financial services and healthcare sectors, making these investments in the state a natural fit to serve these clients.
The 690,000-sq.-ft. data center campus is currently under development on a 77-acre site in the city, having begun work on phase one in 2022. The initial phase brought a $250 million investment and introduced 135,000 sq. ft. of space. A strategic site selection decision ensured the project was clear of environmental hazards such as flooding, flight paths and railways to avoid disruption of service.
Once complete the data center will have 90 megawatts (MW) of critical capacity and will feature an on-site Oncor substation for a total investment of $1.4 billion, creating 20 new jobs. The substantial investment qualified the company to gain a sales tax exemption on equipment and electricity under the Texas State Data Center Tax Incentives program. Stream says this location holds a rich mix of local, long-haul and dark fiber providers and is supported by dual dedicated underground 40 MW utility feeds that are pre-designed to support the full capacity of the data center.
“It’s a great site in an excellent market and Stream is happy to be building out our eighth data center campus in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro,” says Bair. “As a Dallas-based developer of data center capacity, it was clear to Stream that Wilmer was a great location for our newest hyperscale-friendly campus in the market.”
A business-friendly environment and shovel-ready sites make Wilmer a clear choice for more great locations to come.
This Investment Profile was prepared under the auspices of the City of Wilmer and Wilmer EDC. For more information, contact the Wilmer Economic Development Corp. at 972-441-6373. On the web, go to www.wilmeredc.com.