Ohio Solar Activity Heats Up with State Loan, Power Purchase

June 16, 2009

A state loan to expand a photovoltaic panel manufacturing plant, a new solar power plant, and a major utility's solar power purchase agreement are stoking solar power generation in Ohio. All these activities are expected to create jobs for the Buckeye State.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland announced June 9 that a solar panel manufacturer will receive $10 million from the Ohio Bipartisan Job Stimulus Plan. The loan will come from the advanced energy portion of the job stimulus plan, which totals $150 million.

Willard & Kelsey Solar Group, LLC, a manufacturer of thin-film photovoltaic modules, will use the funds to expand its manufacturing facility in Perrysburg, about 12 miles southeast of Toledo. The plant currently operates one manufacturing line, employing about 400 workers, but the company plans to expand to as many as 16 lines, employing more than 3,500 workers. The average annual wage and benefit package for company employees will be approximately $61,000. Total project cost is $1.2 billion.

A little further south in the state, about 70 miles north of Columbus, Wyandot Solar LLC is planning to build a solar power plant rated at 10.08 megawatts (MW) . Construction is expected to begin in November, and commercial operation is expected to start by mid-summer 2010.

The Ohio unit of American Electric Power Company has signed a 20-year agreement to purchase all the power from the solar plant. The contract represents AEP’s first commercial solar energy purchase. The company says it plans to purchase up to 2,000 MW renewable energy capacity by the end of 2011.

For more information on the state loan, see the governor's June 9 press release and the Advanced Energy Program portion of the Ohio Bipartisan Job Stimulus Plan. To learn more about the AEP solar purchase agreement, see the AEP June 15 press release.

To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Ohio, see: