Ohio’s first solar installation along a highway is nearing completion on Interstate 280 in Toledo.
The $2 million solar research and installation project was developed by a partnership with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), UT, First Solar of Perrysburg, Xunlight Corporation and Advanced Distributed Generation (ADG) of Toledo. The cost of the project includes $500,000 for the research portion and $1.5 million for the solar installation.
“It’s part of the completion of the Veterans’ Glass City Skyway and bridge project that began 10 years ago,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who reported that $1.5 million in federal funds are paying for this first solar installation on a federal highway in Ohio and second one in the U.S.
The solar array is estimated to produce more than 100,000 kilowatt hours annually using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory solar energy simulator. The energy will be used to power the lighting for the approach, bridge and center pylon, according to ODOT.
“We are hopeful this is just the beginning of statewide use of solar energy on Ohio highways. Northwest Ohio is poised to take advantage of alternative energy in the 21st century,” said David Dysard, deputy director of ODOT District 2.
The solar installation could save ODOT $15,000 annually on the cost of lighting the approach, bridge and pylon, assuming a rate of 12 cents per kilowatt hour. ODOT pays approximately $20,000 a year to light the bridge and highway.
The project is expected to be operational by the first of the year, according to ODOT officials and Alan Bowen, project manager for ADG, which is handling the installation of solar arrays provided by First Solar and Xunlight.
First Solar is providing 966 solar panels for a 67-kilowatt system as its part of the project, said Pete Alyanakian, national sales manager for First Solar. The company also provided solar panels for the largest solar installation in North America, located outside Sarnia, Ontario, and for the largest one in Ohio located in Wyandot County.
Xunlight is providing 198 newly developed and produced flexible thin-film silicon solar modules for its part of the system. It is the largest installation of the company’s thin-film solar modules, which are now in production at its plant in Toledo, according to Xunming Deng, CEO of Xunlight.
The thin-film silicon solar modules are being installed on TPO membrane material made by Firestone that is typically used for rooftop installations, Deng said.
The TPO product also helps to prevent erosion and control water runoff.
Xunlight has sales contracts for $70 million of the thin-film silicon solar modules for larger projects in the U.S. and Europe, according to John Buckey, vice president of business development for the firm with 100 employees.
ADG developed new wrapping technologies for mounting the solar panels on two different types of racks. Each rack of modules is assembled at ADG’s facility and installed on the site, according to John Witte, president of ADG, which will maintain the site for one year and collect the research.
A small brick enclosure on the site houses computer equipment that will collect data from the solar arrays for one year. That data will be evaluated to determine the feasibility for future use of solar projects by ODOT on highways.
The study of the data generated at the site will be conducted by the computer science and electrical engineering departments at UT, according to Richard Martinko, director of the UT Transportation Center. The study is scheduled for completion in March 2012.
Archive for October, 2010
Ohio’s first solar installation along a highway is nearing completion on Interstate 280 in Toledo.
Despite having already equaled its win total from last season, being tied for first place in the West Division of the Mid-American Conference with rival Northern Illinois after a 4-0 start in conference play, off to its best start since 2005 and one win away from bowl eligibility, the Rockets were adamant Oct. 25 that there is still much more work that needs to be done.
“We haven’t proven anything yet,” said Toledo head coach Tim Beckman said. “It’s about winning championships. We haven’t done that yet. We’re undefeated [in conference play], and we’re in the process of trying to reach that ultimate goal of being a champ, but the great ones know how to do that and learn how to do that.”
Toledo (5-3, 4-0 MAC) will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., on Oct. 30 to take on Eastern Michigan. While it’s true that the Eagles team (1-7, 1-3 MAC) is one of the three worst teams in the MAC, it’s also true that the Eagles players are more dangerous than their record indicates. Eastern Michigan snapped an 18-game losing streak Oct. 16 in its 41-38 overtime win at Ball State, a game in which the Eagles battled back from a 21-0 hole. On Oct. 23 at Virginia, Eastern Michigan trailed just 17-14 at the half before falling 48-21 to the Cavaliers.
The Rockets have battled back from first quarter deficits at home the past two weeks to be victorious. Couple that with the fact that the team came out of the first six weeks of its schedule with a 3-3 record when four of those six contests were on the road and included games against No. 2 Boise State and No. 15 Arizona, and Toledo has certainly shown that it is a resilient team, despite the young bunch.
Part of that resiliency has to do with the leadership and play that has come from the few seniors featured in the Rockets’ roster, one of whom is cornerback Desmond Marrow. Marrow leads the team with eight passes deflected and five pass breakups, is tied for first with a team-high three interceptions and is fifth in tackles with 44. The Youngstown native — whose interception on the final play at the Oct. 23 contest sealed Toledo’s fourth-straight MAC win — credits that resiliency to the closeness and chemistry of this year’s team.
Unlike many of his teammates, Marrow is one of those Rockets who endured four-straight losing seasons, only tasting victory 18 times from 2006 to 2009, battling through several of his own injuries along the way just to get to this point. Even though Marrow is happy to finally experience what it’s like to have some success, the past is a constant reminder of how things could play out if Toledo loses its focus.
“Right now we’re 5-3, and I believe last year, we were 5-7,” Marrow said. “I was just telling the younger guys that we’re so used to not winning that when we start to win, we kind of have to be even. We can’t get too high or get too low on it because we could easily end up 5-7 from this point right here.
“We really haven’t accomplished anything yet. We’ve got to beat Eastern [Michigan] and just keep it going.”
Kickoff for the Oct. 30 matchup with Eastern Michigan is set for 4 p.m. and will air live on Sports Time Ohio and 1370 AM WSPD.
It seems like just yesterday we were kicking off the 2010 high school football season. Believe it or not, the regular season comes to an end Oct. 29. As always, there are several teams that have already clinched a playoff spot, some who control their own destiny to get in and some that have to both win and get some help to qualify for the playoffs. If history is any indicator, the final week of the regular season of 2010 should provide a lot of good football and some surprising finishes. Here is how our local teams break down in the state playoff chase.
Clinched playoff spot:
Division I: Whitmer, Southview
Division II: Central Catholic
Division III: Tiffin Columbian, Clyde
Division IV: Genoa
Division V: Archbold, Patrick Henry
Division VI: Defiance Tinora
These teams were the best of the best in their regions this season. Whitmer is in position to be seeded first in the region with Southview close behind. Tiffin Columbian has rebounded nicely from a Week 1 loss to Whitmer to claim the top spot in their region.
Win and they’re in:
Division I: Fremont Ross, St. John’s Jesuit
Division II: Maumee
Division III: Oak Harbor
Division V: Liberty-Benton
Division VI: Toledo Christian, Mohawk
Fremont Ross should qualify, but St. John’s needs a win versus Central Catholic on Oct. 29 to qualify for a playoff spot. Toledo Christian’s big win against Northwood on Oct. 22 catapulted the Eagles into an all but assured playoff spot. Liberty-Benton benefited from the win as well, because if it wins, the team will leapfrog the Northwood Rangers for the final playoff spot in region 18.
Win and need some help:
Division V: Northwood, Milan Edison
Division VI: Fremont St. Joseph’s Central Catholic, Edon
The scenario Northwood players find themselves in is: beat Cardinal Stritch on Oct. 29, combined with a loss by Liberty-Benton, and they stay alive. The same goes for the other teams listed above. Fremont SJCC needs a win against Seneca East to hold on to the eighth seed in Region 22,while the Edon Bombers need a win against West Unity Hilltop and a loss by Fremont SJCC to sneak into the playoffs.
Win and need a lot of help:
Division I: Perrysburg
Division III: Rogers
Division IV: Port Clinton
All three of these teams’ playoff hopes are on life support. The Yellow Jackets need to beat Maumee on Oct. 29 and pray that four teams in front of them lose to claim the final spot in Region 2. DerJuan “PeeWee” Gambrell has rejoined Rogers after a knee injury kept him out for most of the season, but it might be too little too late for the Rams. The Rams play Scott whose record is 1-8 and won’t provide many computer points. Plus, the Rams will need to jump past four teams to sneak into the playoffs. If you think Rogers’ situation is bleak, Port Clinton’s is bleaker. The Redskins need to beat Huron and then magically blow past six other teams to make it to the playoffs. I suppose miracles can always happen.
Chris Schmidbauer is sports editor for Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also the co-host of the “Odd Couple Sports Show” on Fox Sports Radio 1230 WCWA and can be heard every weekday from 10 a.m. to noon. He can also be seen weekly on the “Friday Night Frenzy Tailgate Show” on NBC 24.
Toledo: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Adrian: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Bedford Twp.: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Bowling Green: Downtown shops, 4-6 p.m. Oct. 28; residences, 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Defiance: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 28.
Delta: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 30.
Deshler: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 30.
Elmore: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Findlay: 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 28.
Florida: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 28.
Fostoria: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.
Fremont: 4:30-6 p.m. Oct. 31.
Genoa: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.
Grand Rapids: 5-6:30 p.m. Oct. 30
Hamler: 5:30-7 p.m. Oct. 28.
Holgate: 5:30-7 p.m. Oct. 30.
Holland: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Malinta: 5:30-7 p.m. Oct. 30.
Maumee: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
McClure: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 28.
Monroe, Mich.: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Napoleon: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 28.
Northwood: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.
Oak Harbor: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.
Oregon: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Ottawa Hills: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Pemberville: 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 30.
Perrysburg: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Ridgeville Corners: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 30.
Rossford: Parade, 2 p.m. Oct. 31; 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Springfield Twp.: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Swanton: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 30.
Sylvania: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.
Sylvania Twp.: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.
Tiffin: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 28.
Walbridge: 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Waterville: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Wauseon: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 30.
Whitehouse: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Woodville: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
Editor’s note: Toledo Free Press will follow the Blank family of Millbury for the next year as they rebuild their lives after a June 5 tornado destroyed their Main Street home.
Julie Blank won’t let a little thing like a front porch stop her from distributing candy in her neighborhood.
Julie and her husband, Ed, will return to their Main Street property from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31 for Halloween trick-or-treating. They intend to set up in the driveway, even though it is cracked and has to be re-poured. If that doesn’t work, they will sit in the dirt or on a side street.
“It means a lot,” Julie said. “I want to go. Sometimes we get a lot of kids and sometimes we don’t; it all just depends. I just want to go back and be there.”
The return will be as much about tradition as it is about perseverance. Julie and her family have not let losing their house to the June 5 tornado stop them from going about their lives.
Usually, Halloween for the Blanks means a blazing fire pit and good friends. The women stay and give out candy, while the men take the children trick-or-treating. The next year, the moms and dads switch jobs.
Last year, the Blanks took their fire pit to a neighboring house and distributed candy from a central location so the trick-or-treaters didn’t have to walk down the busy road. This year, there will be no fire pit because it was lost in the tornado.
“We have to replace it yet,” Julie said.
This year, the backdrop for the spooky night will be a real-life nightmare. While the debris has been cleared, evidence of the tornado is seen in the many construction projects under way. The tornado leveled the Blanks’ house and killed their neighbors. Other houses in the neighborhood were also destroyed.
Structurally the Blanks’ house is done with the roof, windows, door and garage all set. The rough plumbing and heating is also done. The shed is built in the backyard.
Julie is looking forward to being home — even if it is just for one day. She and her family have been living in a condo in Oregon.
She doesn’t expect children to show up for treats at the condo, which is one reason she wants to go home to the familiar.
“Everyone is usually outside and we just kind of visit with each other,” Julie said.
Julie also talked to her builder, Mark Rigg, who is going to run an electrical cord so she has a little bit of light at the end of the driveway. The construction on the house is expected to be finished by the holidays — just not this holiday.
On Election Day, voters are being asked to vote for Issue 7, the renewal of the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority’s (TARTA) existing 1-mill property tax levy. This is not a new tax and will not cost taxpayers any additional money. Issue 7 provides 20 percent of TARTA’s operating budget.
Passage of Issue 7 means TARTA will be able to maintain service at current levels and continue to build upon the success of our fixed-line service, Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service (TARPS) for the disabled and the Call-A-Ride program.
There are many positive benefits to having public transit within our community, including economic development and quality of life aspects.
For example, more people use public transit statewide to get to work than for any other reason. Locally, this statistic is also true for TARPS, as work trips are the No. 1 reason people use this service for the disabled.
There are other ways in which TARTA benefits economic development. Users of public transit save an average of $9,500 a year, which, in turn, can become extra dollars spent in the local economy.
In Dayton, Ohio, a city similar in size to Toledo, it was demonstrated that for every $1 invested in its transit authority, there was an economic return conservatively estimated at $4.32.
Most importantly, for some of TARTA’s passengers, it is often a choice between public transit or public assistance. For those passengers, having a quality transit system allows them to access jobs, services, health care and other opportunities within the Toledo region.
For most of us, being able to drive is a privilege we take for granted, but imagine not being able to drive or afford a vehicle. Having TARTA available can help a student get to school, a young person to his or her first job, your neighbor to the store or doctor’s office, etc.
Quite simply, having TARTA and TARPS available makes our community a much better place to live.
We have made many improvements in TARTA’s service and have plans to deliver more unique services. Our fixed-line TARTA ridership has remained steady, and our innovative Call-A-Ride service brings great value to suburban areas.
Use of TARPS service improved in quality, and its ridership grew 35 percent last year, its 15th consecutive year of growth.
Having quality public transit services helps our community. I urge you to support our mission of advancing the quality of life in our service area. Look around, you will be surprised how many people you know and depend on, depend on TARTA.
You can help them and yourself by voting for Issue 7 on Nov. 2.
Remember, Issue 7 is a renewal. It is not a new tax and will not cost taxpayers additional money.
Your vote for Issue 7 is much needed and greatly appreciated. Thank you.
James K. Gee is general manager of the Toledo Area Transit Authority.
Columbia Gas of Ohio announced Oct. 27 that it has more than $2.7 million available to income-eligible customers who need assistance paying their natural gas bills this winter.
These fuel funds are in addition to established public energy assistance options, such as the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and Ohio’s PIPP Plus program.
The $2.7 million includes:
Columbia’s Auction Fuel Fund, which contains $600,000 for the 2010-11 winter heating season. This fund can provide up to $250 per heating season and is a fund of last resort for families who have exhausted all other available emergency assistance programs. Households at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level qualify for this fund.
Columbia’s Utility Fuel Fund has $1.8 million available until funds are exhausted. This fund offers a one-time assistance payment of up to $250 per heating season to maintain or restore service. Customers do not need to be disconnected or facing disconnection to qualify. Households between 175 and 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level qualify for this fund.
The Winter Crisis Fuel Fund, with $312,500 available, is a fund of last resort that can provide up to $175 to customers who are disconnected or threatened with disconnection. Households at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level qualify for this fund.
Eligible Lucas County residents should contact the Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo Inc. (EOPA) at 866-504-7392. Residents of Wood, Seneca, Ottawa and Sandusky counties should contact WSOS Community Action Commission Inc. at 419-334-8911. Columbia customers who aren’t sure which agency to contact may call the Columbia Customer Contact Center at 1-800-344-4077 for information on where to apply.
Although natural gas prices are well below the record levels of two years ago, Columbia Gas of Ohio President Jack Partridge said he understands many customers are feeling the effects of the weak economy.
“With all of the energy assistance programs available, there is no reason for any of our customers to go without heat this winter,” Partridge said in a news release.
Columbia Gas of Ohio is the largest natural gas utility in the state, serving about 1.4 million customers in 61 of Ohio’s 88 counties. The company says interrupting a customer’s service is always the last resort, and the company will work with people to avoid disconnection.
At the first sign they may have problems paying their natural gas bills, customers should contact Columbia Gas of Ohio at 1-800-344-4077, where a representative can set up a payment plan or refer the customer to an assistance program.
For more information, visit www.columbiagasohio.com.
The “Art of Politics” debate began at 7 p.m. The live blog aspect of the debate was to begin at approximately 6:45 p.m. More information on the preview of tonight’s event is in this article, TFP debate to feature Brown/Waniewski, Contrada/Sarantou, Kaczala/Lopez, Oct. 26 at TMA
More will be forthcoming from the Toledo Free Press on tonight’s debate. Audio from the debate courtesy of Glass City Jungle is below, Glass City Jungle also has a rough transcript of the “Art of Politics” debate.
– Introduction and Auditor candidate debate.
– Ohio Senate 11 candidate debate.
– Lucas County Commissioner candidate debate.