Cooley Group, Formetco form venture to build solar panels, connections to grid

THE COOLEY GROUP’s new joint venture will use power-generating technology, like on this 6,000-square-foot billboard in New York City’s Times Square, to build outdoor signage powered by the sun.
Posted 11/3/10

PAWTUCKET – The Cooley Group, flexible composites manufacturer, has announced a joint venture with Formetco Inc. called CF Solar LLC.

The CF Solar will sell integrated systems that combine polymer membrane technology, advanced lighting and control systems, and leading-edge solar technologies to create electricity-generating systems.

CF Solar systems will include all of the equipment required for integration to the electrical grid for billboards, signs, awnings and transit shelter applications, the company said in a news release Wednesday.

The systems, with a patent currently pending, will generate renewable energy to power the signs.

Some customers may also decide to generate extra solar power to be able to sell back excess electricity to local utility companies through net metering or feed-in tariff programs, the company said. CF Solar will also provide battery systems for areas that do not have access to electrical power.

Assembly of the CF systems will take place at Cooley’s site at 5 Slater Rd. in Cranston, and “if it goes well, we will [eventually] be able to create between 5 and 15 jobs,” said Jeffrey Flath, president of the Cooley Group, to Providence Business News.

Cooley will be responsible for the flexible membranes and the photovoltaic technology in the joint venture; Formetco is responsible for the SmartLink controllers and EcoSeries LED lighting systems. CF Solar will sell the integrated system.

Flath said the projected revenue for January 2012 is between $4 million and $6 million in sales. He did not disclose the ownership split in the joint venture.

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