Toledo Solar, located at 1775 Progress Dr. in Perrysburg, manufactures nearly 1 million solar panels per year. The company manufactures 100 percent of its factory panels with a supply chain sourced exclusively from North America. The recyclable, thin film solar panels manufactured by Toledo Solar can be found in American homes and businesses across the country.

Aaron Bates is the founder of the company that launched in mid-2019, starting production in 2022. Currently, Perrysburg is its only manufacturing plant, but the company has sales offices in California, New York, Connecticut, Michigan and many other states, Bates said. The company has 40 full-time employees.

Photos courtesy: Toledo Solar

A long history

Bates said he built Toledo Solar “through hard work, luck, and support.”

“I have spent my entire adult life in manufacturing, first working in factories and then investing and financing manufacturing based in the United States. Solar seems like a good challenge to take on. In 2018-2019, we believe that US solar manufacturing will begin to return to the coast. Meeting Jim Appold, Dr. Al Compaan and Dr. Mike Heben helped inform my colleagues and me that the production of CdTe (cadmium telluride) in Toledo, Ohio is a good path to follow. The Ohio Federal Research Network facilitated our meeting at University of Toledo. People like Jim Appold taught us about the solar industry in the United States and Toledo, Ohio,” Bates said.

“Basically, we believe in clean energy, locally produced in the United States, and in the best solar technology CdTe semiconductors.”

Toledo Solar has a long history of manufacturing solar and cadmium telluride, which is used to make solar cells. The company’s founding chief technology officer, Compaan, began his research with Harold McMaster while a professor of physics at the University of Toledo in the early 1990s.

“The support of this rich history from UT, combined with the regional expertise in glassmaking and this type of cadmium telluride (CdTe) manufacturing here in Northwest Ohio, makes all the difference,” Bates said. “Without the technical genealogy of the solar/glass manufacturing region, we could not have started Toledo Solar.”

Photos courtesy: Toledo Solar

Impact of the president

To accelerate growth, President Biden used the Defense Production Act to help expand solar panel manufacturing in the country, Bates said. The President also increased the amount of solar panels it purchased. “The important big picture message is that the administration supports a stronger focus on domestic production of solar panels.”

However, Bates said Biden’s two-year moratorium on tariffs for China “will harm American solar manufacturing and harm the environment because it continues to allow imports of products from China. state-subsidized solar cell manufacturers.” Bates went on to say that China has many abuses in its solar energy policy including the use of coal and forced labor.

Photos courtesy: Toledo Solar

“This creates national security and economic and environmental problems for the rest of the world,” Bates said. “In these critical times in the world regarding our energy and environmental future, other countries are taking the lead in holding countries like Russia and China responsible for their energy policies, and the United States must catch up.”

As an ownership group. Toledo Solar is made up of many different groups of people from different backgrounds, including, legal, engineers and marketing. They own or have interests in many companies in the United States, but Bates’ main focus is Toledo Solar and its continued growth.

“We believe that Toledo Solar is the first of hopefully many investments that we will be a part of here in the Toledo region,” said Bates.

For more information visit or find Toledo Solar on LinkedIn: @Toledo Solar. Twitter: @Toledo solar.

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