solar energy

Tax break approved for new glass plant in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Plans for a new glass plant in Wood County are a little more crystal clear. On Thursday, the Wood County Commissioners approved a request from NSG Pilkington for a 100 percent tax abatement for 15 years. The same deal was approved Wednesday by the Troy Township Trustees. And agreements have already been made with Eastwood Schools to get $344,000 a year, and Penta to get $44,000 annually. The new 511,000-square-foot glass plant, estimated to cost $270 million, will create 150 jobs. “We are excited to have you break ground and be in Wood County,” Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said. NSG Pilkington, formerly LOF, considered sites in Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan before deciding on the Troy Township site. The location is off Pemberville Road, just south of Garling Road, and south of the Home Depot warehouse. The company conducted a “rigorous site search,” said Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. “He’s been a big help,” NSG overall solar project manager Todd Huffman said of Gottschalk’s assistance. Wood County Planning Director Dave Steiner said the efforts by economic development officials to have the site “shovel ready” paid off for this project. “It’s nice to see this in an area already slated and ready to go,” Steiner said. The new plant – dubbed the “Falcon Project” – will be designed to support the company’s solar energy customers. The biggest of those customers is First Solar – for which NSG has created a “unique” glass product. “I’m excited to be a part of an initiative that’s creating clean energy,” Huffman said. More manufacturing space could not be “shoehorned” into the Rossford NSG plant, Huffman said. So the search began for an additional site. Huffman, who grew up in Perrysburg, said he hoped the new plant could be built locally, “but the numbers have to make sense.” The approval of the tax abatement by the county commissioners helps those numbers align. The new plant – like the Rossford location – will be in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “You can’t turn off a furnace and turn it back on,” Huffman said. The new plant will put to use the latest technology for coating the glass for more light transmission. The company is also expanding in Vietnam, to support First Solar growth there, Huffman said. Of the 150 jobs created, 110 will be hourly and 40 will be salary. After the meeting with the commissioners, Huffman said NSG has already started looking for key people for the new plant. “We recognize labor markets are very tight,” he said. However, Huffman said NSG has a reputation as a great place to work – which may help the new plant fill positions. “I want to make sure we’re the preferred place to work in Northwest Ohio,” he said. Huffman predicted many of the new workers will need to travel to existing plants in Illinois, North Carolina and Vietnam for training. Some people from those plants may also travel here to help with the training, he said. NSG Pilkington was recognized earlier this year by the Wood County Economic Development Commission as the county’s Corporate Citizen of the Year. “We do the right thing for people,” Huffman said. “We do the right thing…

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