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Published: Friday, 2/24/2012

Construction of solar panel plant could be finished by July

BY KRIS TURNER
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The construction of Isofoton North America's facility in Napoleon is under way and should be completed by July, company officials said Thursday.

Isofoton executives traveled around Ohio Thursday and met with representatives from the Ohio Department of Development and Gov. John Kasich's office to assure them the project is moving forward.

Angel Luis Serrano, Isofoton's chief executive officer, said machinery is being installed at the plant and it could be up and running by fall.

"Our idea is to be finished in the middle of this year and ramp up in September or October of 2012," he said.

The $31 million project is expected to create 330 jobs. It is being financed with $15 million in loans from the state and about $4 million in private funding The rest of the funding should be produced by company profits once the plant, 40 miles southwest of Toledo, is running.

The solar-panel-producing company plans to work with Ohio suppliers and boost local business, said Michael Peck, chairman of Isofoton North America, whose parent company is based in Spain.

The news of progress at the facility, as well as the plan to use local suppliers, was well received by state officials, Mr. Peck said.

"We've gone way out of our way to get to know the supply chain," he said, adding that the company looked for about three years at moving into Ohio. "When you put time in to create quality relationships, those relationships give back."

The company's connection with the University of Toledo, which is assisting on research to increase the productivity of solar panels, has university officials excited about advancing solar energy.

Rick Stansley, chairman of Innovation Enterprises at the university, said Isofoton is helping foster the cluster of solar companies in northwest Ohio and create a new business model among the government, companies, and universities.

"It truly is a new type of partnership," he said.



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