The University of Toledo and Isofoton have agreed to a memorandum of understanding that will significantly increase collaboration between UT and the Spanish photovoltaic (PV) company, which announced earlier this month that they would be establishing a manufacturing plant and its North American headquarters in northwest Ohio.
As part of the institution’s ongoing effort to partner with industries and facilitate economic growth in the region, UT officials said the agreement will provide Isofoton with access to University resources, facilities and researchers.
UT President Lloyd Jacobs said that University students directly would benefit from the partnership as internships and learning opportunities would increase and job opportunities would surge in the growing solar industry cluster in northwest Ohio.
“By working closely with Michael Peck and his team at Isofoton, we will be able to develop ways to commercialize solar research more quickly and increase the number of solar-related jobs,” Jacobs said. “It is UT students and graduates who will be advantaged with more opportunities and high-tech jobs in an area of the energy industry that they will have unique educational and hands-on expertise.”
Peck is chair of Isofoton’s North American operations.
“The state of Ohio has made a firm commitment to renewable energy, and we are equally committed to Ohio which offers the talent, natural resources and support that we need to build and operate our new PV factory,” said Angel Luis Serrano, Isofoton chair and CEO.
In a statement distributed to media organizations in Spain, Isofoton “attributes its success to clear technology leadership in the development of photovoltaic solar platforms through close partnerships with advanced research centers and universities around the world. … Isofoton and The University of Toledo in Ohio, located in the hub of one of the most important and growing North American solar clusters, have agreed to sign a collaboration agreement to advance work-force training, to begin Andalusia-Ohio student exchanges, and to originate the co-development of strategic applied research proposals.”
Rick Stansley, UT director for strategic business development, said that just as important as UT’s solar expertise was the University’s experience in logistics, manufacturing and work-force development.
“Commercialization is taking great ideas that work in the laboratory and scaling them up so they are economically viable, and The University of Toledo has really excelled in this area for more than half a decade,” Stansley said. “I think we’re both going to learn a lot from each other and it will be those living and working in northwest Ohio who will benefit the most.”
Jacobs said these sorts of collaborations represent the roles that state leaders are looking for universities to play.
“For higher education to stay relevant in a dynamic and global world, we always need to be looking for partners. With the North American headquarters of Isofoton coming to northwest Ohio, we’re excited by the opportunities that lie before us.”