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Soltech Solutions is Tripling its Space in the Lehigh Valley

By Colin McEvoy on July 18, 2018

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

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

A Bethlehem-based startup company that makes state-of-the-art LED grow lights is tripling its space in the Lehigh Valley.

Soltech Solutions, best known for its Aspect grow light product, is expanding its existing space within Pi: Partnership for Innovationa startup business incubator in Southside Bethlehem.

“With all of the grow lights they have in the office, it’s not surprising that Soltech is growing,” said Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez. “We’re excited with the progress that the Soltech team has made to this point and we’re looking forward to them telling us they need bigger space within a year or two.”

Paul Hodges, CEO of Soltech Solutions, previously conducted a comprehensive search in multiple states for an attractive startup climate that would be best help his new company grow and thrive. He ultimately chose the Lehigh Valley.

When they moved to Pi in 2014, the company originally occupied 232 square feet of space in Suite 5. With recent investment, growth, and increased demand in their products, Soltech Solutions will instead expand into 777 to square feet. in Suite 4.

SolTech Solutions founders Chris Clark, Mike Planner and Paul Hodges (respectively)

SolTech Solutions founders Chris Clark, Mike Planner and Paul Hodges (respectively)

“Since recently entering the latest distribution partnership, Soltech will be able to increase production of novel plant and home lighting products,” Hodges said. “However, with the anticipated increase in sales and operations we found ourselves searching for a larger office and center of operations.”

He continued, “Thankfully, once again the KIZ and BEDCO were able to provide us with our ideal space. As a result we’re happy to announce we’ll be growing our operations within the Pi building, and we couldn’t be happier.”

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

The Pi incubator falls within the KIZ zone, and the KIZ board last year awarded Soltech Solutions a $15,000 technology transfer grant. The company used that funding to build up their inventory of the Aspect, a revolutionary LED pendant light that grows plants using the photosynthetic spectrum while displaying them with museum-quality light.

“The KIZ and BEDCO have always been one of our greatest supporters” Hodges said. “They have offered us continued guidance and backing from our entry to the market, through our first slow season, to our rising online presence, and now up to a major distribution partnership. ”

The Aspect is the first LED grow light developed specifically for interior design, allowing users to grow whatever plant they want in any location while aesthetically enhancing any indoor space.

Soltech Solutions has also taken advantage of the Student Internship Program, Lehigh TE Capstone Program, and KIZ Tax Credit program offered through the KIZ. They also secured a $35,000 loan through the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, which is a subsidiary of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV).

Soltech Solutions was formed in 2014. 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.

Soltech Solutions is currently selling their product direct on its website and through Amazon.

Pi is located on the 2nd floor of a 1911 silk blouse factory at 520 Evans Street in Bethlehem. It includes are shared facilities and private, secure office suites ranging from 114 to 2,000 square feet. The building’s industrial feel is retained in wood floors, brick walls, and loft-style ceilings.

The Southside Bethlehem KIZ was established in 2004 and is now in its 14th year of operation. It has had a profound impact on innovation and entrepreneurship in Bethlehem by offering critical financial resources and assistance to early-stage startup companies.

To date, the KIZ has invested over $8 million dollars in 100 companies since the program’s inception.

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