Toledo, Ohio has a long history with cadmium-telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar. The “Father of Commercialized Solar,” Harold McMaster, first commercialized CdTe modules through his Toledo-based company Solar Cells Inc. (SCI) over 25 years ago. SCI later became First Solar, today the world’s largest thin-film solar producer with 1.9 GW of manufacturing capacity just outside “The Glass City.”
So it wasn’t surprising when a new CdTe manufacturer emerged four years ago in Northwest Ohio called Toledo Solar. Rather than compete with First Solar’s utility-scale dominance, Toledo Solar focuses on serving residential and commercial markets. Now thanks to government incentives supporting domestic production, the two manufacturers are scaling.
Toledo Solar will increase its production capacity from 100 megawatts to 300 megawatts later this year; First Solar will open its third plant in Lake Township providing 700 jobs. In 2024, First Solar will build a 1.3-million-square-foot research and development facility in Perrysburg and open another solar plant in Alabama in 2025 to increase its total production capacity to 10 gigawatts. Both firms expect to create more than a thousand new jobs.