Advanced & Alternative Energy
From Newsweek magazine to the Wall Street Journal … from ABC World News to CNN… national media continue to focus attention on the Toledo region’s rapid advancements in the solar industry.
With more than 6,000 people working in industries related to photovoltaic development, it’s no wonder the media has dubbed Toledo and Northwest Ohio “Solar Valley.”
The region has gained an international reputation in solar based on its successful history and knowledge base in the glass industry. Continued university research has led to the commercialization of solar startups, including what would become First Solar, the world’s No. 1 thin film manufacturer of photovoltaic modules.
Moving forward, Toledo and Northwest Ohio are uniquely positioned for success in the solar industry due to a manufacturing and glass-making heritage, world-class research and educational facilities, thin film next-generation photovoltaic expertise and supply chain resources and logistics.
In addition, the State of Ohio in 2010 designated Northwest Ohio as a Solar Hub of Innovation. The goal is to connect university, industry and government resources for the transformation of the solar energy sector into a significant and sustainable regional economic driver.
The Hub is designed to help:
• Propel innovation through cutting edge, market-driven applied technology and knowledge spillover
• Foster the opportunity for job creation and retention
• Catalyze the formation and attraction of new companies in the region, and helping existing firms retain their competitive advantage in the global marketplace
A key differentiator for Northwest Ohio is the creation and development of an entrepreneurial culture for not just solar, but also biofuels. The Regional Growth Partnership’s joint venture with the University of Toledo Innovation Enterprises to form Rocket Ventures LLC offers a pre-seed early-stage venture capital firm which assists in technology commercialization for both the biofuels and alternative energy clusters through its venture capital fund. The program focuses on technology-based start-up companies that have strong potential in the marketplace, solid potential for high growth, and are likely to qualify for later-stage funding.
When considering Toledo’s link to the glass industry and the many renewable energy companies that are thriving in Northwest Ohio, businesses and entrepreneurs are realizing the natural fit for solar in the Toledo region.
• World’s largest solar OEM
• Manufacturer of thin film CdTe solar module
• Approximately 1,000 employees
Solar Fields/Calyxo GmbH
• Research and development of atmospheric deposition processes of thin film photovoltaic materials
• Recently purchased Calyxo GmbH’s holdings in Germany
• Approximately 10 employees
• Start-up solar OEM in flexible substrate a-SiGe solar modules
• Achieved a world record efficiency for a-Si solar modules
• Approximately 75 employees
• Start-up OEM in thin film CdTe solar modules
• Has commenced pilot manufacturing
• Approximately 60 employees
Solar Supply Chain – Direct-to-OEM
Pilkington North America
• Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) glass that serves as the glass substrate for nearly all solar modules
• Manufactures all glass substrates for First Solar
• North America’s largest glass manufacturer
• Manufactures architectural, automotive and specialty glass products
• Approximately 800 employees
• Glass equipment manufacturer
• Manufacturer of equipment for making glass for photovoltaic and thermal solar applications
• Glasstech developed the machinery that makes 80 percent of the world’s automotive glass and 50 percent of the world’s architectural glass
• Approximately 100 staff
Research and Development
Bowling Green State University
• Photosensitive materials research
• Partner in PVIC
• University of Toledo School of Solar and Advanced Renewable Energy
• Owens Community College Installer Training (NABCEP accredited)
Other Notable Solar Start-up Companies
• Xunlight 2.6: A spin-off of Xunlight Corporation; Developing CdTe thin film flexible modules
• Isofoton: Spanish solar panel PV manufacturer. Announced plans to build a 50 MW PV line in Northwest Ohio
• Nextronex Energy Systems: OEM of utility scale inverters
• AP Alternatives: Developing solar installation hardware and automated installation processes
• DyeTec Solar: A spin-off of Pilkington North America and Dyesol Limited. Developing photovoltaic window glass employing dye-sensitized materials
Bio-Energy technologies use renewable biomass resources to produce an array of energy related products including electricity, liquid, solid, and gaseous fuels, heat, chemicals, and other materials. Bio-Energy ranks second (to hydropower) in renewable U.S. primary energy production and accounts for three percent of the primary energy production in the U.S.
Biomass is a clean, renewable energy source that can help to significantly diversify transportation fuels in the United States. Biomass can play a major role in reducing the reliance on fossil fuels by making use of thermo-chemical conversion technologies. In addition, the increased utilization of biomass-based fuels will be instrumental in safeguarding the environment, generation of new job opportunities and sustainable development.
Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan have a large amount of potential biomass currently available for harvest. High levels of corn and wheat production mean a significant amount of biomass is available for collection, even after leaving sufficient amounts to maintain soil quality.
For cellulosic ethanol, if all the agricultural biomass was collected from the 17-county Northwest Ohio area, 163 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol could be produced. With little or no change in current farming practices, Northwest Ohio currently possesses enough crop residue and capital stock to easily supply a small commercial scale (10 million gallons per year) cellulosic ethanol plant.