EDITOR'S NOTE: This version adjusts the projected payroll amount.
A Perrysburg solar-industry startup granted tax credits by the state Monday to help it create up to 446 new jobs in Findlay does not have any financing in place to bring the $148.6 million project to fruition.
But local officials said Tuesday that the company's plan to manufacture absorbed glass mat batteries in two now-vacant buildings in Findlay could be a much-needed boost to the local economy, should it happen.
On Monday, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority granted a request by Lee Holt Judd, chairman and chief executive officer of BASN Enterprises Ltd., for a 50 percent job-creation tax credit worth nearly $650,000 over seven-years for the start-up.
The tax credits do not cost Ohio any money up front and do not take effect unless promised jobs are realized within three years, Bethany McCorkle, an Ohio Department of Development spokesman, explained.
State records indicate Ohio is in competition for the proposed manufacturing plant, likely to produce up to 4 million advanced batteries a year, with South Carolina, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Minnesota.
Such a project could mean an extra $15.1 million payroll for Findlay's economy. BASN stated it would pay an average of $16.36 an hour.
Ms. Judd said Tuesday that such batteries "are similar to marine batteries that would be used for solar cell [energy] storage. For the unknowing eye, it would look like a golf cart battery or a large boat battery."
But nine-month-old BASN, she said, has technology allowing batteries to charge more rapidly and have longer life cycles than similar devices. The 65-pound batteries are about 700 cubic inches in size, she said.
BASN has expressed interest in a pair of vacant buildings on the north side of Findlay if it chooses Ohio and can finance its ambitious plan.
"I think there's still a lot of moving parts to this project, and I think there's still some that have to be cinched up before it becomes a live deal," said Tony Iriti, economic development director for Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development, who was asked to accompany Ms. Judd to Columbus on Monday.
"At this point, it's still pretty preliminary. It would be very good for our community. The jobs are good-paying jobs, and we'd be able to develop a work force around them," he said.
Doug Born, director of business development for the Regional Growth Partnership, said he and other economic development officials across northwest Ohio have worked with Ms. Judd and BASN officials for several months but cautioned that the firm isn't near a point where it could begin any hiring .
"This is just one step in this company. There are a significant number of hurdles that would need to be climbed and obstacles to be overcome before this would come to fruition," Mr. Born said. "It's a challenging project, and one that, because of its magnitude and the fact that it's a start-up, makes it that much more of a challenge."
Besides being chairman and CEO of BASN, Ms. Judd holds an identical title at Sun Bear Solar Ltd., a three-year-old start-up that also has ambitious plans. Last March Ms. Judd visited Malaysia to announce Sun Bear's intentions to build a $1.6 billion factory there to manufacture special glass for solar panels.
That facility there has yet to be constructed, because of a problem getting sufficient natural gas to its proposed location, the company's general counsel, James Turner of Spengler Nathanson's office in Columbus, said.
The Malaysian government is providing economic assistance to establish the glass plant there. Federal assistance is being sought in the United States to establish the Findlay factory, Mr. Turner said.
Other funds are being sought from private investors, he added.
Contact Larry P. Vellequette at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6091.