Leading a $30 million initiative, The Atlas Venture Group has formed a new company that manufactures cadmium telluride photovoltaic (CdTePV) solar panels in Toledo, Ohio. Toledo Solar Inc. will begin shipping their Tier 1 panels to customers worldwide in June. They have over $800 million in purchase orders for solar panels, power converters and energy storage systems.
‚ÄúI am thrilled to be manufacturing in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio ‚Äď the birthplace of ‚ÄėCad-Tel‚Äô solar technology,‚ÄĚ says Aaron Bates, chairman of The Atlas Venture Group.
‚ÄúAmerican solar installers understand that ‚ÄėCad-Tel‚Äô (CdTe) technology is superior to the Silicon (Si) panels. Our installers have been seeking an American alternative to the current supply of Chinese manufactured Si solar panels. There is incredible demand in the U.S. residential market for our technology,‚ÄĚ he adds.¬†¬†
The Atlas Venture Group acquired the assets of Willard & Kelsey Solar Group in 2019.¬† They began production in the former company‚Äôs 300,000 square feet facility. Toledo Solar currently has an annual manufacturing capacity of 100 MW and employs 25 people with a goal of having 70 employees by year‚Äôs end. Based on current orders and scale-up plans, the company will reach an annual manufacturing output of 850 MW by 2026, which is enough electricity to power 170,000 homes.¬†
Toledo Solar is the only U.S. based manufacturer of thin film CdTe rooftop panels and the second active CdTe manufacturer in the U.S. They are the only company specifically serving the non-utility solar market.
Solar is one of the lowest-cost forms of new electricity generation in the U.S. and solar installations have grown 20% per year over the past 20 years. As of 2020, California currently mandates that all homes under three stories tall must have solar panels. Currently, 93% of solar panels are made in Asia and are silicon-based. CdTe has a fundamentally lower cost structure in comparison to silicon, the smallest environmental footprint of any PV technology and is manufactured cost-effectively in the U.S.
Photo: A Toledo Solar manufacturing plant