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Published: Wednesday, 12/19/2007

Lucas County OKs $2M loan to Toledo solar-panel firm

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Deng Deng
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Momentum for a growing Toledo solar-tech company continued yesterday with the Lucas County commissioners' approval of a $2 million loan to Xunlight Corp.

The loan will be administered through county Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz's linked-deposit program, in which qualifying small businesses can receive low-interest loans between $25,000 and $150,000.

The commissioners agreed to grant a one-time exemption to Xunlight to receive a loan far above the program's limit.

The company, which was featured in Newsweek in October and has received about $10 million from private firms and the U.S. government this year, is working to manufacture lightweight, flexible solar panels at a low cost.

County officials said Xunlight was being recruited by other states and countries to relocate but has decided to stay in Toledo.

"Too often, elected leaders are accused of not investing" in local businesses, Commissioner Pete Gerken said.

"This leadership is not going to be accused of that."

Xu Xu
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Xunlight was founded by Xunming Deng, a University of Toledo professor, and his wife, Liwei Xu, a former UT professor, as a continuation of technology developed in the university's technology incubator.

Mr. Deng said his company's products could eventually generate $200 million annual revenues and create 700 jobs. The firm, he added, will make a product for rooftops of homes and businesses.

"Our technology allows us to manufacture panels at among the most competitive costs," Mr. Deng said.

One of the company's first customers could be Lucas County, possibly installing solar panels on the roof of the new multipurpose arena in downtown Toledo, he said.

Tina Skeldon Wozniak, president of the commissioners and the governing body's chief proponent of green technology, heralded the firm.

"Green-collar jobs are the wave of the future," she said.

Xunlight, at 3145 Nebraska Ave., has about 30 employees. Mr. Kapszukiewicz said the company could create 110 jobs by the end of next year and 250 within two years.

The loan program is run through local banks and allows applicants to receive loans at below the market-average interest rate.

Twelve local businesses have taken advantage of it, receiving a total of $1.3 million, the treasurer said.

The commissioners also lowered the floor for linked-deposit loan amounts yesterday from $25,000 to $10,000.

Contact Joe Vardon at:

jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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