Solar power to put a charge in neighborhood enhancements

Published: Nov. 21, 2019 at 5:43 PM EST
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Local partnerships were on display Thursday, all designed to give Toledo neighborhoods a lift. Solar power will turn into dollars reinvested into those very neighborhoods.

It's a truly unique system, local companies all pitching in and coming up with a process you might soon see copied anywhere in the country.

Work is already underway for solar panels at the old Jeep plant property, now known as the Overland Industrial Park.

They're not just any panels. First Solar donated the panels for a field owned by the Greater Toledo Community Foundation, which will sell the power to Dana for its Driveline facility, only a few hundred yards away.

The foundation will then turn around and use those dollars for things like home renovations, community art projects, tree planting efforts and lots more.

"Not everything is capitalism. It's not about that. It's also about giving back to the communities, and you're only as good as your people. People want to be part of something different, something special, they want to be engaged," said Dana CEO and President James Kamsickas.

“We keep saying we're going to celebrate our neighborhoods with this money. We don't like the term revitalization. It's not like we're reinventing it. We're celebrating the neighborhoods we have and help them be what they should be," said Keith Burwell of the Greater Toledo Community Foundation.

You might wonder why they're using this land for panels and not more manufacturing facilities because with a new tenant, that complex will employ about 1,500 people. Those panels, which will be four feet off the ground, are actually being placed in a flood plain, so you can't construct a building there anyway. Those panels are expected to be up and running in 2020.