SAN ANTONIO -

Rain forced the ceremonial groundbreaking for a solar plant indoors Wednesday morning.

Still, Woo Jeong Lee, president and CEO of Nexolon America, sounded optimistic about the Korean-based company’s future in San Antonio.

“This groundbreaking is another step in the long-term commitment we’ve made to investing in this region,” said Lee.

Nexolon America will be producing solar panels for solar farms not just in San Antonio, but throughout North and South America.

Lee said the company’s $100 million, 240,000-square-foot facility at Brooks City-Base will be finished by the first half of next year, with up to 200 skilled jobs for starters, and another 200 in 2015 when the plant reaches full capacity.

“Instead of jobs going overseas, we have folks coming to San Antonio and investing here,” said Mayor Julian Castro.

Although some on City Council earlier questioned the size of the incentive package, the mayor defended aggressively pursuing companies like Nexolon America.

“We were in this case and I’m confident it’s going to pay off,” Castro said.

Nexolon’s president and CEO said for him, the bottom line was being in a city that’s already home to Toyota Texas, and a mayor who has set his sights on creating a new energy economy for San Antonio.

Lee said he even hopes to build a second or third plant to meet future demands.

However, the solar industry in general is in the midst of shake-out.

“We looked at this company very, very closely,” said Doyle Beneby, president and CEO of CPS Energy. “This company is one of the ones that’s big enough and strong enough to survive. We’re happy to partner with them.”

He said with Nexolon’s help, CPS Energy will produce 400 megawatts of solar power.

Lee said given his company’s sizeable financial commitment to its new San Antonio, “Don’t worry. We cannot go anywhere.”