A Toledo Partnership is Reinvesting in Neighborhoods through Renewable Energy

By Maria Walliser-Wejebe, GOPC Project Associate

Last week, Toledo City Council voted unanimously to approve a special-use permit for the Port Authority. The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority requested the permit so that solar panels could be installed on a 12 acre parcel along the Ottawa River.

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Council approval is an important first step in moving the installation of the solar farm forward. Panels are expected to be installed before snowfall starts in Lucas County. The solar farm will be installed at 1000 Jeep Parkway, which currently lies in the Ottawa River floodplain. The project is still waiting on approval signatures from the state floodplain administrator’s office.

Dana Incorporated, an international automotive supplier headquartered in Maumee, OH, plans to purchase energy from the solar field for its Toledo Driveline plant. All revenue will go to the Toledo Community Foundation to be distributed as grants in the neighboring communities. The Toledo Community Foundation acts as a responsive grant maker, supporting community needs in areas such as social services, the arts, education, neighborhood and urban affairs, natural resources, and physical and mental health. Solectria, a photovoltaic panel manufacturer owned by Yaskawa Electric Corporation’s American subsidiary, donated solar panels worth approximately $2 million to be installed the field. An additional $3 million panel donation is expected to come from Arizona-based First Solar Inc. as well.  

The project is an example of a private-public partnership with a community reinvestment component, and members of the Toledo City Council hope this concept can become a real model for community-economic development in the future. This partnership is an excellent example of how local government and the private sector can work together and focus on the triple-bottom-line: ensuring social, environmental, and financial gains. Partnerships between private, public, and philanthropic sectors are a crucial component of smart growth, and the elements of community and environmental reinvestment found in Toledo are central to setting the bar for sustainable development.

For more information on what GOPC is doing to support sustainable growth across the State, click here.