Play Ball! WIRE-Net Goes to Bat to Advocate on Behalf of Manufacturers

Toledo Blade Op-Ed by John Colm Attracts Attention of National Solar Publication

If Northeast Ohio manufacturers acknowledge that the shaky economic climate has contributed to countless sleepless nights, then supply-chain manufacturers in the renewable energy industry must be turning into insomniacs. That's because a shaky economy is little compared to the political uncertainty in the renewables marketplace.

From a proposed repeal of a highly successful 2008 Ohio law that sets standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy, to repeated attempts to eliminate the federal production tax credit which provides financial support for the development of renewable energy facilities nationwide, the manufacturing community and its related supply chain continues on a hazardous "start-stop" course to keep up with changing legislation and reckless assaults by wayward politicians.

Ever mindful of the impact politics has on the region's manufacturing base, WIRE-Net has ramped up its efforts to act as a voice of the community.

Recently, WIRE-Net president John Colm wrote an op-ed piece published in the Toledo Blade defending Ohio solar manufacturers after the paper published an article that claimed "solar firms proved costly investments" and "tens of millions were wasted on the fledgling industry."

Colm's piece, titled "Solar Energy Steers Its Future By Reflecting On The Past" compares the industry to a burgeoning auto industry of the early 1900s…an industry that attracted scores of inventors, developers and manufacturers all vying for a piece of an emerging market. It's a rebuttal to those who claim the solar industry is a boondoggle.

Response to that opinion piece has included a reprint of Colm's article by Solar Power World, a national trade publication that reports on the solar industry. Click HERE to view the article.

Interestingly, Solar Power World included its own brief commentary alongside the piece, lauding Colm and WIRE-Net for standing up for manufacturers. Here's a snippet of of that commentary:

"You may ask yourself why a paper [The Blade] that covers an area that includes First Solar, one of the most successful manufacturers of thin-film solar panels (and employer of more than 1,200 Toledo-area residents at their manufacturing plant in Perrysburg, Ohio), would attack an industry so vital to reviving the area's manufacturing base. Toledo is, at its heart, a manufacturing town. The economic struggles of northern Ohio have been well documented, and we believe solar can offer it a way back to prominence.


"Fortunately, the industry has its defenders inside and outside of the industry, including John Colm, president & executive director of WIRE-Net, a not-for-profit advocacy group that represents hundreds of manufacturers in Ohio, many of which produce components for the solar industry.


"It's this kind of fight we as an industry can't be afraid to join. We'd like to thank Mr. Colm for defending us in the face of unfair criticism — and we urge our users to do the same in their communities." (Frank Andorka, Editor, Solar Power World, 2/24/14)

While compliments from the national trades are nice, WIRE-Net's role as an advocate for the industry never ceases. Indeed, we are stepping up our efforts to reach out to both the media and elected officials, to be the voice of reason when it comes to the issues that strongly impact manufacturers.

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