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Published: Tuesday, 12/16/2008

Perrysburg solar-panel maker gets state aid


A needed state loan to help pay for the equipment at a start-up solar manufacturer in suburban Toledo has been approved.

Willard & Kelsey Solar Group LLC was approved Monday for a $5 million loan and a $500,000 grant from the Ohio Controlling Board for its $13.5 million project in the former Delafoil Inc. plant at 1775 Progress Dr. in Perrysburg,

The assistance is to help create 400 jobs and retain about 10 jobs, with average wages of $21 or more an hour.

An executive of the firm declined to comment Monday. The firm, which is one of several solar-panel makers or start-ups in the Toledo area, plans to make thin-film solar panels at a rate of 240 an hour. It also has received a state job tax credit and a local tax break.

This year the company told state officials that it will eventually invest $105 million in its Perrysburg plant and make it the base of its corporate operations and research and development. It told Perrysburg officials it planned to have 221 employees for the first phase of its plan and add 188 in the second phase.

A company executive told Perrysburg council members that the nation s credit market problems had put the firm s production behind schedule, which was supposed to begin in August.

Two other solar-panel plants are operating in metro Toledo. Tempe-Ariz.-based First Solar Inc. produces more than 2 million panels a year at its U.S. plant, in Perrysburg Township. Xunlight Corp., led by a researcher from the University of Toledo, is in the early stages of panel production this year at a factory off Nebraska Avenue in Toledo.

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