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Published: Saturday, 3/1/2008

Former Delafoil plant may get new life


The Toledo area's nascent alternative-energy technologies industry appears poised to power up again.

A former television components plant in Perrysburg has been purchased by a local businessman with long ties to the solar-energy industry and is being eyed for conversion to alternative-energy manufacturing.

Michael Cicak, who was once a close aide to solar-energy technology pioneer Harold McMaster, represents a company that paid $7 million last week for the former Delafoil Inc. factory. The 262,000-square-foot facility sits on a 29-acre site along State Rt. 25, not far from the Levis Commons retail development.

Mr. Cicak, who represents buyer Spring Grove Trading Co. LLC, didn't respond to a message left yesterday at his residence.

Local officials confirmed that they have met several times with the new owners of the manufacturing and warehouse complex but were reluctant to discuss specifics of the project.

"It will be manufacturing and of an alternative energy nature," said Tom Blaha, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. He wouldn't identify who else is involved in the venture and was unsure about how many people it will employ or when it would begin.

People familiar with the project said it is unrelated to a controversial power-plant project in which Mr. Cicak is involved in suburban Oregon.

Through its history as a glass manufacturing center and the pioneering work of Mr. McMaster, the Toledo area has become one of the nation's top centers of production and research in a new technology for manufacturing low-cost solar-energy panels.

Phoenix-based First Solar Inc., which was an outgrowth of Mr. McMaster's work, has its lone U.S. factory in Perrysburg Township.

The Toledo area hosts other solar businesses, including another panel plant and a research arm of the German solar giant Q-Cells AG.

Perrysburg administrator John Alexander described the latest alternative-energy proposal as "very exciting." The city has offered economic assistance, but he declined to discuss specifics.

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