Submitted by Jeff Buster on Tue, 01/22/2008 - 21:18.

On January 10, 2008 Bill MacDermott addressed an audience of about 30 at Webtego in Cleveland, Ohio.  


Bill is a solar convert - and  a franchise distributor of Unisolar products.


 Unisolar is unique in the photo voltaic product line because Unisolar panels are pliant and flexible - like plastic sheeting.  The Unisolar company has had a contentious history with its investors over the last 20 years - but its founder Stanford Ovshinski has persevered in his belief that amorphous compounds, not crystalline silica, is the answer to earth's energy needs.


Unisolar now manufactures its photo voltaic vapor deposition sheeting like printing a newspaper - a mile or more at a time.


Thanks to all who helped organize and host this civic forum, including Betsey Merkel and Susan Altshuler.  

Bill-McDermott-and-unisolar.jpg64.16 KB

Bill, distribute some of that solar stuff to

Boulevard School in Cleveland Heights. They have a perfect south facing slanted roof that goes on for miles (ok maybe for many sqft). This would be a good step in the sustainability direction for the CH-UH School District. It's about time they started looking ahead in that way. Why their busses don't run on biodiesel or the waste grease from the many greasy spoons in CH, I will never know. Probably the board is still bogged down with law suits from people who don't get why we can't afford to heat, light, staff and secure more real estate than we need in this shrinking city. Oh well. Give 'em a proposal, they might listen...

Standing seam metal roofing on Boulevard School

Hello Bill,

The school Susan has pictured above has just the type of metal roof you showed at Webtego in one of your slides .   The Unisolar 10 foot (apx) long panel could use the panel's adhesive backing to stick down between the standing metal roof ribs. 

The ease of installation at the school should provide Unisolar the competitive advantage.

Maybe you could send a proposal (x dollars for every KW installed) to the Cleveland Heights School District.   You can never tell what might happen! 


And if you get the job and need a hand installing the system - I’d be pleased to help you put it in. 

Uni-Solar Standing Seam Roofing Opportunities

Jeff & Susan,

I drive past that school many days on my way to work. Needless to say, I would be interested in doing some solar on that roof!!!  Here is a bird's eye view...

I often drive by the Cleveland Heights Rec Center on the way home - It too would be nice:

Cleveland Heights has said that they want to consider solar for their new parking lot behind the Cedar Lee retail shopping strip there:

The Veale Center at CWRU would be a nice project:

Not to mention the old Warner & Swassey building down at East 55th and Carnegie:

Then again, the Uni-Solar membrane roofing that we discussed before:

Would be great for Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Target, Staples, Office Max, and any number of "big box" retail stores, where the building roof isn't strong enough to support the added weight of the silica crystal, or plate glass types of solar panels, without additional structural support.

I think that my plate could well be full in the future, particularly if the political climate in Washington DC decides to "level the energy playing field" and offer the solar and wind industries subsidies that are on a par with the huge subsidies that the coal, oil, gas and nuclear industries currently enjoy. Maybe the other "climate" will help speed those changes along.

As I have personally heard a very brilliant and wise man (Stan Ovshinsky) say a number of times "The Stone Age didn't end because they ran out of stone!"



Solar Editorial

In today's PD--JB, I will spare you the agony of actually trying to find it on

Myles Murray's guest editorial in Dirty Dealer copied below

Recently, a world record was broken during two unseasonably sunny days in Germany when solar power generation provided as much electricity as 20 nuclear power plants running at full capacity. This remarkable event has been generally overlooked by both regional and national media and policymakers. This solar-power generation accounted for 30 percent of total German electricity consumption on May 26 and 50 percent on the following day. This is a truly remarkable feat, especially considering that Germany gets 30 percent less sunshine than we do here in Cleveland, and less than half of that in many places in our country.

Since I was a child staring up at the ancient giants in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, I have had dreams of a Lake Erie wind farm that fueled a vision of Cleveland's future as the "Green City on a Blue Lake." My youthful optimism has since soured as plans for turbines have been stymied and shelved by those citing high cost, engineering challenges and opposition from many special-interest groups.

Last year when I attended the Governor's Taskforce on Energy Policy, the debate focused on the development of the shale in mid-Ohio and Pennsylvania. As speakers discussed the economic boon and the environmental effects of horizontal drilling, little attention was paid to the prospects for solar -- so little that you might not know it was even part of the plan.

But we do have an opportunity for low-cost, renewable energy in Ohio. And that is an opportunity that comes up every day -- solar. While rejectionists rail that Cleveland doesn't get enough sun, one need only look at the recent experience in Germany. When skeptics say solar is too expensive, I say Toledo is home to the largest and lowest-cost solar-panel manufacturing facility in the United States. If we can't do it with First Solar, we've given up before we started.

But Ohio's resources don't end with First Solar. Xunlight in Toledo makes flexible roofing panels. Greenfield in Oberlin makes concentrator arrays currently in use at Cleveland's Rockefeller Park greenhouse. Nextronex in Toledo makes the inverters necessary for changing DC to AC electricity. Other companies, like eQED (Mayfield), Ecolibrium (Athens) and Replex (Mount Vernon), are ready to enter the solar-energy supply chain.

These sunny days have got me thinking about what concentrating on collaboration and communication might do for Cleveland. We have assets and opportunities unlike other cities that could allow us to create a sustainable solar-energy future. Big buildings with unobstructed views of the sky are abundant in Cleveland, as are neighborhoods teeming from development, full of old houses ready for rejuvenation. Cleveland Public Power can be used as a resource to effectively change energy policy for the region. As we are decommissioning dirty, aging coal plants, extra generation capacity could come from a program of distributed solar generation -- solar panels on Cleveland roofs.

Cleveland Public Power can change the game on net-metering so that solar panels can be profitable for their owners. Utility loan programs could be used to create lease-to-own residential solar-power systems with no upfront costs. City Hall could change building codes to make installation simpler. These initiatives, modeled after German approaches, would spur partnerships between regional high-tech companies and bring not only clean, safe and carbon-neutral power to our homes, but desperately needed jobs back to our region.

As our grid and power plants begin to wear out, and new environmental standards ensure the closure of antiquated plants, we should look beyond cheap natural gas to pick up the slack. We need to meet Ohio's Renewable Energy Portfolio goals of 12.5 percent renewable energy generation before 2025. We must not continue down the road of procrastination and endless amendment, or we will be left nothing but hollow, broken promises.

It is time to listen to my generation's Ohio scientists and engineers to build the dream of sustainable urban living and leave something for the next generation besides dried-up wells and a warmer and more toxic world. We can with solar, and we can do it here in Cleveland.

Myles Murray is a doctoral candidate at Case Western Reserve University's Solar Durability-Lifetime Extension Center.