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New kid on the block plans to let the sun shine in on Toledo's economy

There's another solar player coming to Toledo. And it's making no secret of its big plans to shed additional light on the local economy.

California-based Sphere Renewable Energy Corp. has developed Buckeye Silicon at the University of Toledo with a blueprint to manufacture lots of polycrystalline-silicon production modules poly-silicon is a critical ingredient in the production of solar panels.

BeSi's headquarters will be located on the UT campus, but the manufacturing facility will be situated on the UT Technology Corridor. Full-scale production is expected by the end of 2010 and so is the addition of as many as 150 jobs within 18 months.

Mark Erickson, COO and senior vice president of Buckeye Silicon, says there are a few reasons the company decided to set up shop in Northwest Ohio. First he credits the solar industry already in place for making the area attractive and UT for being a leader in renewable energy research.

"Northwest Ohio was attractive because of our ability to tap into a skilled workforce," Erickson says. "Without too much training we're able to get skilled workers to operate our facility."

He also points to Toledo's geographic position -- a major interstate system, railway system and a deepwater port make the region attractive.

Erickson says cooperation between local businesses, higher education and the public sector in Ohio is unprecedented. The state has committed to giving BeSi $2.7 million in loans to get started. The Rocket Ventures client also received a $50,000 Rocket Ventures Ignite! grant.

Source: Mark Erickson, Buckeye Silicon
Writer: Colin McEwen

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