Thursday, October 7, 2010

Solar Panels Are Coming, Solar Panels Are Coming

There's much excitement in economic development and eco-friendly circles with the announcement that a new $250 million solar array will be built on reclaimed strip mined ground in Southeast Ohio.  It really is fantastic news. 

The construction project will generate jobs and the impact of $250 million in spending will have an impact on Ohio's economy.

The size of the project will help to better establish Ohio, despite our lack of sunny days compared to desert locations, as a place where there is a market for selling solar modules.

The best part will be Ohio's ability to capitalize on this investment to feed its robust supplier chain.

The excitement will be greater if the solar panels installed are ones made in Ohio.  Manufacturing careers are better than panel-installing man hours.  On that, everyone must agree.  Solar modules can be sole-sourced from Ohio manufacturers.

The excitement will be greater if they are PV panels made while consuming silicon crucibles manufactured in Hebron, Ohio by Momentive Performance.  In the value chain of the solar industry, these highly-engineered, precisely-manufactured, high-value items are at the top.  This is an Ohio plant that, in part aided by the international surge in solar modules' sales, is booming.

The excitement will be greater if the solar trackers, the systems that help align increase the sun's power by tilting the panels into the maximum output angles, were engineered and made in Ohio.  THK in the Newark Ohio Industrial Park has a role in the manufacturer of solar trackers.

The excitement will be greater if the services to these equipment yield continuing Ohio business.  Those solar trackers need to be calibrated using metrology services and an azimuth reference.  That's something that can be done by Bionetics in Heath, Ohio.

Get my point?    The real impact of this solar panel news is when, and if, Ohio's supplier chain gets to feed it.

Godspeed on the solar panels.  Godspeed on the supplier network being in Ohio too.

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