Soltech Solutions Expanding Once Again in Bethlehem

By Colin McEvoy on August 14, 2020

The Soltech Solutions team meeting in their new space in the Pi: Partnership for Innovation business incubator in Bethlehem. (courtesy photo)

A 2018 photo of the Soltech Solutions team meeting in their new space in the Pi: Partnership for Innovation business incubator in Bethlehem. (courtesy photo)

Soltech Solutions has experienced substantial growth since moving to the Lehigh Valley, and now they are expanding their footprint yet again.

The Bethlehem-based manufacturer of state-of-the-art LED glow lights is expanding to 1,739 square feet of space in Pi: Partnership for Innovation, a startup business incubator in Southside Bethlehem.

That is more than double the amount of space it had most recently been occupying, and nearly eight times more than it had been using when it first moved to Pi three years ago after a comprehensive, multi-state location search.

“Thanks to the continued support of the Lehigh Valley, city of Bethlehem, and Southside KIZ, we’ve been able to continue our growth at a steady pace,” said Paul Hodges, CEO of Soltech Solutions. “From our smallest of beginnings in this city a few years ago, we’ve been able to successfully develop a business that has a real hand in making life a little greener.”

Soltech, best known for its Aspect grow light and other related products, has thrived even despite the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of their customer base working from home and taking on various improvement projects, according to the company.

The startup formed in 2014 and moved to Pi in 2017. The Southside Bethlehem Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ), which operates Pi, has invested in Soltech since the beginning, providing them with a $15,000 Technology Transfer grant that helped the company build out their initial inventory for the Aspect.

In addition to the grant, the Southside KIZ has provided Soltech with ongoing support in the form of paid college interns, access to the Northampton Community College Fab Lab, and sellable Keystone Innovation Zone Tax Credits that provide additional funding for the company.

When Soltech first came to Pi, they occupied only 232 square feet, before growing to 777 square feet the following year, and now 1,739 square feet.

“The last time we put out a press release about their expansion I mentioned that we look forward to them telling us that they need more space within a year or two” said Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez. “It looks like they are right on queue. Based on their current trajectory, I’ll say now that we look forward to them constructing their own building in the near future.”

Soltech has also received assistance from Lehigh University’s Integrated Business & Engineering (IBE) and TE Capstone Programs; Moravian College’s Leading Change in Organizations course; and CareerLink Lehigh Valley, which has sponsored two interns to help the company keep up with demand.

Soltech Solutions has sold thousands of lights worldwide, including for commercial projects such as furnishing Google’s New York City headquarters. Their growing social media following has surpassed 30,000 followers as they have gone through a recent rebranding.

The company’s Aspect product is a plant light that offers an innovative and highly precise photosynthetic spectrum that keeps your plants happy while its sleek pendant style and museum quality light brings beauty to your home.

Soltech’s newest product, the Highland, is a first-of-its-kind LED track light designed for growing plants. Additionally, the company is working on a new product line that will soon be introduced to the marketplace.

The Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation (BEDCO) administers Southside Bethlehem KIZ, a designated area that fosters entrepreneurial growth in coordination with the efforts of institutions of higher education. Pi falls within the KIZ zone.

During his location search, Hodges considered Philadelphia or New York City, but was ultimately drawn to the Lehigh Valley’s central location, affordability, available incentives, and many community resources for entrepreneurs.

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