Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland announced the Northwest Ohio Solar Energy Hub as the newest Ohio Hub of Innovation and Opportunity at The University of Toledo’s Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation Wednesday, June 30.Speaking to more than 200 guests at the event, Strickland praised the leadership of The University of Toledo and hub partner Bowling Green State University, thanking Presidents Lloyd Jacobs and Carol Cartwright for their collaborative efforts with each other and with the private sector to promote the solar industry in northwest Ohio.
“By pairing northwest Ohio’s glass manufacturing legacy with its innovative research and university strengths, this hub will help accelerate the growth of Ohio’s solar industry,” Strickland said. “The hub designation is an important part of our economic and urban revitalization plan to create good jobs while establishing Ohio as a leading supplier of clean energy.”
The Northwest Ohio Solar Energy Hub will strengthen and create job opportunities in Ohio’s solar industry through entrepreneurship, economic development and commercialization by bringing together top solar researchers, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, education institutions, trade associations and training providers.
Toledo Mayor Mike Bell said the city and the region benefit greatly from “two universities working aggressively to find solutions to the city’s and the region’s economic challenges.”
Jacobs told the crowd that university partnerships with the private sector would be essential to UT’s and the region’s collective future.
“The University of Toledo has been a proud partner with Gov. Strickland and the Ohio Department of Development, and has been a solar industry leader in northwest Ohio for decades,” Jacobs said. “As The University of Toledo’s photovoltaic reputation continues to expand nationally and internationally, the designation of the Northwest Ohio Solar Energy Innovation Hub will help draw further attention to the great work and economic opportunities in the region.”
Cartwright called the hub the next step in expanding northwest Ohio’s role as a national leader in solar and advanced alternative energy.
“BGSU looks forward to strengthening its partnerships with The University of Toledo, as well as with leaders in business, the Ohio Department of Development, and economic and community development organizations to create new high-tech jobs and companies for our region,” she said.
Additionally, educational institution partners Owens Community College, Penta Career Center, Terra Community College and Northwest State Community College are dedicated to helping the solar industry of Ohio continue to grow and prosper.
Hubs are designed to leverage a region’s resources and investments to attract clusters of connected businesses, encourage new investments and an influx of talented workers, and help to create new opportunities to grow jobs and develop Ohio’s key industries. A $250,000 state grant, administered by the Ohio Department of Development, will help support the hub.
This is the third Ohio Hub, following the Cleveland Health and Technology Corridor Hub announcement in Cleveland June 3 and the Ohio Aerospace Hub announcement in Dayton Sept. 8.
To be designated an Ohio Hub, a region must identify core strengths and develop a strategic plan for urban revitalization. The designation consists of a commitment from both the state and region to work collaboratively and target economic development efforts toward building upon those identified strengths.