EcoTrack 11: Alternative energy pioneers -- right in NW Ohio

Reported by James Canterbury
Posted by Kate Oatis

Ohio is becoming a leader in alternative energy research and development.

For example, the Sunlight Corporation in Toledo has been making flexible solar panels for years and is now expanding to become one of the largest manufacturers in the country.

But that's not unusual, according to Sunlight's vice president.

"Even though people might think there is not much sunshine in this area, actually there are quite a lot of manufacturing and research efforts in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan," says Liwei Xu, Ph.D.

Much of that research, which is done at the University of Toledo, is resulting in some surprising uses for alternative, renewable energy. The technology exists today that could help you recharge your dead cell phone with your own personal solar panel.

While Sunlight Corp. tries to harness the power of the sun, one local school district is roping the wind -- or hopes to in about a year. Archbold Schools District is raising a wind study tower with help from Green Energy Ohio.

"Basically, what results we will get from that is what size wind turbine would benefit our school district the most and provide us with the most energy to help offset our electric and utility bills," explains Laura Bickel, science teacher.

These alternative energy pioneers are doing what it takes to become future power players.