Canadian Solar, Inc., announced in mid-August that it will soon open its first Canadian solar module manufacturing plant in Guelph, Ontario. On August 11, Ontario’s Energy and Infrastructure Minister, Brad Duguid, was joined by local politicians and other officials to hear the announcement from the company’s President, Shawn Qu, at a large vacant industrial building in the city. The site will be the location of the new plant, which is expected to manufacture 200 MW worth of solar modules each year and provide up to 500 new green jobs.
Canadian Solar is an international provider of ingots, wafers, and other components used to manufacture solar products. Formed in 2001, Canadian Solar saw its revenue grow by nearly $600 million between 2002 and 2009, and the company now operates in seven countries and has seven manufacturing plants worldwide. The plant will be built by Canadian Solar Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar. When complete, it will be one of the largest solar module manufacturing facilities in North America, according to Qu.
Solar Company Benefits from Local Training, Materials
Ontario is a fitting location for the new solar plant. The province offers a variety of training programs for solar installation, as well as proximity to materials and a lucrative feed-in tariff (FIT) program – the first of its kind on the continent. The FIT awards twenty year contracts to producers of renewable energy who satisfy certain conditions. Among the conditions are minimum requirements for parts and labour sourced in Ontario. The program has spurred the creation of a rapidly expanding green energy industry in the province, from specialized training and residential rooftop installation companies, to multi-megawatt solar farms and manufacturing plants like the one planned for Guelph.
According to Canadian Solar Solutions President, Milfred Hammerbacher, equipment may be moved into the new site as soon as October, with full capacity expected for next spring. The company is assured a successful first year, as it has already sold a full 200MW worth of solar modules to FIT-approved projects before the start of operations.
With the help of the FIT program, Canadian Solar will add revenue and green jobs to the Ontario economy, while providing made-at-home solar solutions to help ease our burden on the environment.