Co-sponsored by JobsOhio, the workshop provided participants with information and experiences from a panel of experts, including representatives from Ohio State, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the Ohio Treasurer's Office, First Energy, the Toledo Port Authority, One Energy LLC and Vaughn Industries.
Featured during the workshop were northwest Ohio companies that have recently implemented distributed energy projects at their facilities.
Built by Findlay-based wind power company One Energy LLC, the Cooper Farms project was completed using over 90% Ohio labor, One Energy President Jereme Kent says.
"This is a financial investment. It just happens to be green," Kent says. "We will never tell you, 'Go spend six or seven million dollars to be green.' We will tell you, 'Spend six or seven million dollars to be profitable, and if you can be green while doing this, great.' "
A project like the one built at Cooper Farms has a four-to-six-year return on investment, including warranty and maintenance costs.
A smaller project, this time involving solar power, was implemented by First Citizens National Bank at its main Upper Sandusky office in 2011. The 189-panel, 50-kilowatt system covers 10,000 square feet of the bank's rooftop. Developed and installed by Vaughn Industries of nearby Carey, the solar power system now produces 20% of the bank's electricity needs.
"We started looking into solar as part of an overall 'going green' campaign that includes recycling programs, e-statements and e-banking," says Mark Johnson, bank president. "It's been a very successful project in terms of the installation and the power that it has produced."