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Solar Manufacturers Find a Home in the Glass City

Post Time:Dec 11,2011Classify:Industry NewsView:608


Some executives might dread having their major investors drop by on a regular basis. For Bruce Larsen, though, it's one of the best parts of his job.


"I truly enjoy having my shareholders right here in town," says Larsen, who is CEO of the Toledo, Ohio-based solar startup Nextronex Inc. "And they just couldn't be more cooperative or supportive of our business."


Larsen attributes that support to "the entrepreneurial spirit of private investors in Toledo," without whom Nextronex "could have never gotten off the ground."


Nextronex, which makes grid-tie inverter systems for nonresidential and utility-scale solar installations, couldn't be much closer to its investors. The company has a 5,000-square-foot manufacturing operation on the campus of the University of Toledo, which provided venture-capital funding to Nextronex and has an incubator offering business services to alternative-energy startups.


Nextronex, which was founded in 2008, also received startup money from Rocket Ventures -- a $22.5 million public-private venture fund managed by the Toledo Regional Growth Partnership -- and from private investors in the Toledo area.


"We have several doctors and entrepreneurs who have invested in us," notes Larsen.

While cold, sometimes-gloomy Toledo might seem like an odd fit for the solar industry, it's becoming a hot spot for solar entrepreneurs, thanks to aggressive venture-capital financing, a robust research environment and what is becoming a critical mass of solar manufacturers in the area.


Source: http://www.industryweek.comAuthor: shangyi

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