Saft, the prominent manufacturer of high-tech industrial batteries, has inaugurated what it says is the world’s most advanced automated lithium-ion battery factory, in Jacksonville, Florida.

The high-volume, state-of-the-art production facility is dedicated to building advanced lithium-ion cells and batteries as energy storage for renewable energy, smart grid support, broadband back-up power, transportation and defence applications. It will bring 300 new jobs to the area and was built with the aid of incentives from the state of Florida and the city of Jacksonville. Construction of the 235000 square foot facility was further funded by a $95.5 million stimulus grant from the Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Saft’s 16th facility worldwide is also, says the company, a unique example of technical innovation, including the production of 1 MW of solar power from the largest rooftop photovoltaic system in Florida and fully automated, totally flexible production lines capable of making a range of new-generation Li-ion technologies.

With an annual sales capacity of $300M, Saft Jacksonville is intended to meet growing customer demand for high performance energy storage solutions and will therefore play an important part in the development of the new-energy economy.

“I applaud Saft’s decision to call Jacksonville home,” said US senator Bill Nelson. “The 300 new jobs that come with this new facility will help provide a boost to the local economy.”