Xunlight lags in payment to port authority

Solar panel manufacturer behind $52,269, officials say

Employees work on solar panels at the Xunlight Corp. plant.  A Xunlight official says the company ‘got ahead of itself.’
Employees work on solar panels at the Xunlight Corp. plant. A Xunlight official says the company ‘got ahead of itself.’

Solar panel manufacturer Xunlight Corp. is two months behind on bond payments to the taxpayer-funded Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

Port board member John Szuch announced that the company was behind in its $52,269 monthly payments during the port’s regular monthly meeting Thursday.

Thomas Winston, the port authority’s chief financial officer, said the firm has been late on payments in the past but has not defaulted.

“We set up a monthly payment schedule so that each month that $52,000 would equal what the bond remittance would be,” Mr. Winston said. “They are working through some internal issues [that] we feel comfortable they will able to mitigate in the next coming weeks and make a [Nov. 15] bond payment.”

The next semiannual debt-service amount due bondholders is $307,487. The Nov. 15 payment includes $57,487 in interest and $250,000 in principal.

Dennis Kebrdle, Xunlight’s chief transition officer, acknowledged the company had fallen behind but said it will not default.

“We had some big, big orders from foreign countries … and customers are late in paying us their deposits, so that delayed us,” Mr. Kebrdle said. “It looks like it is coming, and we will get the payment paid.”

He said the company “got ahead of itself.”

Documents provided by the port authority Thursday show the original principal at $3 million and a $2.19 million balance.

But in August, 2008, the port authority approved a $7 million loan from the Northwest Ohio Bond Fund.

Port authority spokesman Holly Kemler said “due to changes and delays in the closing, a resolution was passed in July, 2009, to amend the earlier August, 2008, resolution that changed the maximum principal amount from $7 million to $3 million. The bonds were issued in August, 2009.”

Separately, Rocket Ventures capital fund, a funding pool affiliated with Toledo’s Regional Growth Partnership, in 2008 said it would invest $1 million in the solar energy firm. The Ohio Department of Development also in 2008 announced a $7 million loan for machinery and equipment and ongoing research and development for Xunlight.

University of Toledo Innovation Enterprises, which is often called UTIE, invested $2 million in Xunlight.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.