A local glass plant has an agreement with an Ohio solar company, it’s expected to create about 130 new high-quality, hi-tech jobs.

This partnership is also an effort to bring more clean, renewable energy capacity to the country.

Vitro Architectural Glass will be investing more than $90 million to upgrade their Meadville plant located in Cochranton.

Vitro Meadville is a manufacturer of architectural and automotive float glass. Recently, Vitro and a solar technology company called First Solar entered a manufacturing agreement.

“The part that we’re going to make for it, it’s a large piece of glass that goes on the back side of a solar panel,” said Bill Vassen, director of information & financial services at Vitro Meadville Architectural Glass.

This agreement will support First Solar’s expanding manufacturing footprint and generate in excess of $1 billion in sales for Vitro in the next decade.

“Three years ago, we had to shut down one of our lines so since then they’ve been looking at another way to start it back up,” said John Abbott, HR director for Vitro Meadville Architectural Glass.

Vitro ran into supply chain issues, and the line itself started to get to the end of its useful life around the pandemic.      

“Probably about the last year and half they’ve really been looking in the solar industry and it’s taken a good bit of time to get to this point where we’re able to announce that we got the agreement,” Abbott explained.

The glass and solar companies have had support from many leaders including U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly.

Management plans to have the solar panel line up and running by mid-2025. Before it’s ready to operate, the plant will go through a huge hiring process.

“This is great for our employees. Right now, we have about 175 people at the plant. We’re going to be adding around another 130 people. Probably doing hiring through 2024 and then a large group in early 2025,” Abbott explained with excitement.

“The Meadville team weathered the storm and we’re coming out the other side and I think better days are head,” Bill Vassen went on to say.

Vassen said this upgrade will more than double their current output.