Blocking of Ohio solar farm hurts panel maker

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 13, 2013 at 11:17 am •  Published: January 13, 2013

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The decision by Ohio utility regulators to block plans for American Electric Power Co. to use power from a southeast Ohio solar farm is having an impact on a solar-panel maker in northwest Ohio.

Isofoton North America executives were counting on the $180 million project to bring new jobs to their solar-panel plant in Napoleon.

The company has 33 employees at the plant southwest of Toledo but had plans to eventually hire 330 workers.

A company official says there are other projects in the works but the company was counting on the southeast Ohio solar farm to get the factory off the ground.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio voted Wednesday against funding the Turning Point project that was touted in 2010 as the largest solar energy project east of the Mississippi River

Regulators said AEP hadn't demonstrated that investing in the project would benefit ratepayers, nor that it was necessary to meet the company's renewable energy requirements. The solar farm planned near the wildlife conservancy called The Wilds was projected to create hundreds of jobs and produce enough electricity to power 25,000 homes.

Under recent changes to Ohio law, utilities are required to generate a portion of their electricity through alternative energy sources, including solar.

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