On December 17, Heliene, Inc. (Heliene), held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new solar panel manufacturing plant in Sault Saint Marie (the Sault) that will provide much-needed domestic content for projects that take part in Ontario’s feed-in tariff (FIT) program. The company expects the facility to produce 20 MW worth of panels per year and create fifty-seven alternative energy jobs by the end of December.
Heliene began production at the new plant in mid-October, and by the day of the ribbon-cutting, company President, Martin Pochtaruk, said it would soon increase production to twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Ontario enjoys high demand for alternative energy parts produced in the region since the province’s FIT program will require participating projects to use up to 60% domestic materials and labour by 2011. The program creates green energy, jobs, and manufacturing opportunities like the Heliene plant by paying high prices to producers of solar, wind, and biomass power who tie their projects into the grid. The program has also helped to open up new educational opportunities such as Ontario Solar Academy’s photovoltaic (PV) design and installation classes.
Solar Facility to Create Alternative Energy Jobs, Parts for PV Class Graduates
Heliene is a Sault-based producer of solar panels that has a sibling company of the same name in Badalona, Spain. By the end of the month, the new plant will have four crews, each working twelve-hour shifts to keep up with demand for its solar panels, all of which Heliene expects to sell soon to the rapidly-expanding Ontario market. Heliene will produce its maximum-yield 300-watt panels on a mostly-automated assembly line made by Spain’s SAP Sistemas de Automatizacion de Procesos (SAP). The high-efficiency panels are capable of generating PV power under sun and cloud and can connect to as many other panels as necessary for home, commercial, or full-scale use. This will provide the versatility that graduates of the province’s PV classes will need in order to deal with Ontario’s widely variable climate.
“By supporting Heliene, Inc., a value-added manufacturing businesses in the green energy sector,” says Ontario MPP for the Sault region, David Orazietti, “we are creating high quality, good paying jobs and positioning our city to be at the forefront of the growing renewable energy industry.”
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