Atlas Venture Forms Solar Panel Manufacturer

Leading a $30 million initiative, the Atlas Venture Group has formed a new company that manufactures cadmium telluride photovoltaic solar panels in Toledo, Ohio. Toledo Solar Inc. will begin shipping its Tier 1 panels to customers worldwide in June. They have over $800 million in purchase orders for solar panels, power converters and energy storage systems.

“I am thrilled to be manufacturing in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio – the birthplace of ‘Cad-Tel’ solar technology,” says Aaron Bates, chairman of Atlas Venture.

“Our installers have been seeking an American alternative to the current supply of Chinese-manufactured [silicon] solar panels. There is incredible demand in the U.S. residential market for our technology,” he adds.  

Atlas Venture acquired the assets of Willard & Kelsey Solar Group in 2019 and began production in the former company’s 300,000 square-foot facility. Toledo Solar currently has an annual manufacturing capacity of 100 MW and employs 25 people, with a goal of having 70 employees by year’s end. Based on current orders and scale-up plans, the company will reach an annual manufacturing output of 850 MW by 2026.

Toledo Solar says it is the only U.S.-based manufacturer of thin-film CdTe rooftop panels and the second active CdTe manufacturer in the U.S.

Currently, 93% of solar panels are made in Asia and are silicon-based. CdTe has a fundamentally lower cost structure in comparison to silicon, the smallest environmental footprint of any PV technology and is manufactured cost-effectively in the U.S.

Photo: A Toledo Solar manufacturing plant

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