Clean energy manufacturing company Petra Power to move headquarters to Solon

By Ed Wittenberg, special to

SOLON, Ohio — Petra Power, a manufacturer of solid oxide fuel cells, is relocating its headquarters to 6565 Davis Industrial Parkway in Solon.

The company expects to add 15 to 20 new jobs over a two-year period, which would create about $2.2 million in new payroll, according to a news release.

“Petra Power is very excited to grow our workforce in Northeast Ohio,” Aaron Goodman, the company’s co-founder and CEO, said in the release.

“Northeast Ohio has been our home for more than five years, and the company is very invested in the region’s efforts to revitalize manufacturing and bring new industry and excitement back to Northeast Ohio.

“Our focus is on hiring locally as often as possible and empowering our neighbors and colleagues to get involved in advanced manufacturing and electrification technologies.”

Petra Power was founded by Goodman and Phillip Clift in 2017 and has been operating out of BRITE Energy Innovators, an energy incubator in Warren, since early 2018.

The company’s goal is to improve efficiency of fossil fuel usage and to lower its customers’ fuel costs and carbon emissions by leveraging its patented technology as the central power component in power systems for a variety of applications, the news release said.

Angee Shaker, the city’s director of economic development, said Petra Power has received the required approvals from the city to move into the Davis Industrial Parkway building complex.

“We are eager to welcome Petra Power to Solon,” Shaker said. “This is an innovative company that is going to bring more good jobs to Solon.

“The company had specific building and location requirements, and fortunately for them and us, Solon will be their future home.”

In an email, Goodman said the city has been “responsive, upfront and helpful in all facets of Petra Power’s relocation.”

“The company has pursued a non-traditional approach to our build-out and occupancy to help expedite the company’s timeline to meet critical deadlines, and Solon has been supportive every step of the way,” he said.

“Petra Power looks forward to continuing to build the company’s relationship with the city and to creating jobs in the region for years to come.”

The company’s effort to keep its headquarters in Northeast Ohio was facilitated by Tipping Point, a Youngstown-based commercial real estate company.

Jim Ambrose, president of Tipping Point, said his company served as a real estate development consultant for Petra Power in this process.

“We helped Petra Power navigate the complexities of the commercial real estate market in Northeast Ohio,” Ambrose said in the news release.

“The traditional commercial real estate development culture doesn’t typically consider the spatial requirements that these new, innovative companies from the clean energy industry require.

“Markets where property owners, municipalities and design teams work swiftly and collaboratively with companies like Petra Power, who have specific requirements to operate, are going to be the long-term winners in the emerging clean energy sector. We were thrilled to be able to create a big win for all parties involved.”

Ambrose said Davis Development Group, the Solon-based owner of the Davis Industrial Parkway building complex, has been very collaborative and accommodating in helping to facilitate this transition for Petra Power.

In addition, Tipping Point credits the close collaboration among several entities as keys to the project’s success. Those include the city’s economic development and building departments; Petra Power’s broker, Aaron Davis, senior adviser at SVN Summit Commercial Real Estate Advisors; the design team at Desmone; Barber & Hoffman, engineering consultant; and contractor JPS Construction.

Ambrose said Petra Power is aiming for a late summer or early fall ribbon cutting, “with the caveat that we do not hit any supply chain disruptions for equipment.”

Petra Power is one of the first of BRITE’s portfolio companies to expand its operations outside of BRITE’s space, according to the news release.

Last October, Goodman and Clift were awarded a 24-month contract through the U.S. Department of Defense to further develop the company’s technology and expand its manufacturing presence to service the needs of the department.

Goodman earned a doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering, with a focus on plasma physics relevant to nuclear fusion, from Princeton University in Princeton, N.J. He spent more than six years in Princeton’s Plasma Physics Laboratory researching thermonuclear plasmas and fusion energy.

Clift has a master’s degree in materials science from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, N.M. He is an accomplished machinist and has extensive experience in tape casting, micro electrical mechanical systems and various forms of engineering.

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