Private/public partnership comes together with Overland Industrial Park solar project
GENERATING 2.5 MW ON NORTH AND SOUTH SITES
GEM Energy, in partnership with The Greater Toledo Community Foundation (TCF), developed the Overland Industrial Park solar array. It generates electricity for the 300,000-square-foot axle assembly operation of Dana Incorporated, while investing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually into the neighboring community. The two arrays on a north and south site are built on property that housed the former Jeep manufacturing plant and is unsuitable for commercial or residential use. However, it’s perfect for solar.
“This type of collaboration among businesses, government, and agency partners to deliver a sustainable community investment is unprecedented,” says Keith Burwell, president of TCF. “The partners’ commitment to build a world-class solar-power generation site will provide funds that will be reinvested in the surrounding neighborhoods far into the future.”
The two arrays —consisting of the very latest power-generation technologies—provide electricity that is purchased by Dana for its Toledo Driveline facility, also located in Overland Industrial Park.
PRIVATE/PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP COMES TOGETHER
TCF has created a nonprofit entity to own the solar field in conjunction with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. As the nonprofit generates a revenue stream through the sale of electricity to Dana, proceeds will be reinvested in the surrounding areas through grants to local nonprofits.
“Workforce development, job training, beautification, and other projects in the public interest will benefit from these funds,” says Burwell.
“At Dana, we have a strong commitment to improving the sustainability of our products and increasing our use of renewable energies—but this is more than just another solar project,” says James Kamsickas, president and CEO of Dana. “This unique community collaboration allows Dana to capitalize on all the benefits of renewable energy while also making a significant economic impact on the residential neighborhoods surrounding our facility.”
REDUCING CARBON DIOXIDE BY MORE THAN 3,000 TONS
The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority provided the land within the Overland Industrial Park for the solar array, with industry leaders donating the infrastructure. The solar array will be located on a floodplain, which is not appropriate for a facility but is perfect for an array.
This project represents both advanced technology and unique community participation and is a showcase for American-made products. The array, powered by First Solar’s American-grown thin film module technology, generates enough power to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide by more than 3,000 tons— which is the equivalent of removing 465 cars from the roadways every year. The high-performance, eco-efficient modules have a lower carbon footprint than conventional solar panels manufactured using conventional, energy-intensive processes.