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Westerville Company Hopes Solar Energy Shines

Ohio is a leader in manufacturing equipment for alternative energy sources like solar.  The renewable energy source was included in the Governor’s energy and economic summit this week.  A solar company in Westerville is working to bring cleaner energy to consumers. Solar Vision based in Westerville is the leader in providing solar energy in Ohio.  The company started in 2008, after a state mandate passed requiring utilities get 25 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2025.  Since then Solar Vision has secured $100 million dollars in contracts from commercial, industrial and government interests.  Company president Greg Kuss says there are many opportunities in Ohio. “Ohio is the 16th largest user of electricity in the world, if Ohio were a country it would be in 16th place.â€? Solar Vision is a developer of solar power.  One of its contracts is with the city of Celina where more than 12 thousand solar panels covering up to 20 acres of land will provide power over a 20 year agreement. “Some of these entities get energy sources energy coming in from 5 different places and then we’re number 6.  But we are competitive with the amount with the energy we give them. We are competitive on the price, and that they can either get it at the same price but have the green attribute or less.â€? Executive Vice President, Don Saul says each project will employ 50 to 60 people on an installation team including local excavators, construction workers, contractors, engineers and bankers. “The economics work, it is affordable.  People do have options and choices.  It’s just getting the huge conglomerates to change their perspective a little bit.â€? Solar Vision was not invited to be a part of the Governor’s Energy summit according to Company President Greg Kuss. “We were kind of surprised that we weren’t invited.â€? A spokesman for Battelle Institute that sponsored the Energy Summit explained that the list of companies invited came from various business organizations including the Columbus Partnership and the state Chamber of Commerce. Element Power of Portland, Oregon was invited to be a panelist.  CEO Ty Daul says his company does a lot of business in Ohio since the mandate for renewable energy took effect. “You’re seeing that come to the state now, where as 5 years ago I don’t think too many people were looking at Ohio as a place to either put manufacturing for renewables or to actually build projects for renewables." Solar Vision says it plans to buy millions of dollars worth of inverter equipment from a Toledo company called Nextronics.   The company has purchased solar panels from Tennessee, Korea and China. Over the past 2 years, the price of solar panels has become more affordable, dropping by about 60 percent.  Renewable energy experts say some prices though may go up.  Solar Vision President Greg Kuss. “Ohio’s been used to very cheap electricity their whole life and that’s kind of coming to an end unfortunately.â€? Also, panelists at the solar energy session pointed out that the state could save up to $10 million dollars in energy costs by upgrading state office buildings.  Out of that its estimated 3 thousand jobs could be created.