Green Energy Act Incentives Help Revive Ontario Machine Shop


Samco Machinery has shed its image as a dwindling post-recession equipment shop to become Samco Solar, a cutting-edge solar parts manufacturer with a local competitive edge. The Scarborough, Ontario, company had experienced declining profits and related staffing cuts for an extended period of time, until the move was made to solar energy manufacturing. Earlier this year, Samco signed with SunEdison, the largest photovoltaic manufacturer in the USA, and since then, the company’s projected sales have climbed into the millions. This turnaround is due in large part to Ontario’s Green Energy Act that attracts renewable energy investors to the province in order to create jobs and build a stronger and greener Ontario economy.

Samco Investment Boosts Ontario Economy

Since 1972, Samco has been in the business of manufacturing roll-forming equipment, pre-punch presses and various industrial machines. Recently, the company made a hefty investment of approximately $1 million in order to refurbish its facility and implement a solar racking line. Samco plans to start production by November of this year and is projecting millions of dollars in sales. David Pirchard, VP of Business Development for Samco Solar, states, “I think we’ll achieve $30 million next year, and, in my opinion, 10 to 15 will come from solar.” This renewed commerce has enabled the company to hire more staff to meet growing demand for solar racking components. VP of Operations, Jaswinder Bhatti, notes, “I’m starting to bring the night shift back.”

SunEdison’s Investment in the Ontario Economy

SunEdison, a subsidiary of MEMC Inc., manages 102.7 megawatts of solar energy in North America, making it a major renewable energy player. It has contributed to Ontario’s green economy by setting up three solar parks in the province. Installation and maintenance of the parks have boosted job creation and demand for solar energy training. The company plans on exporting solar racking to the United States and install rooftop panels on commercial buildings.

SunEdison’s interest in working closely with Ontario companies like Samco Solar is likely based on the Green Energy Act’s domestic content requirements. By March 2011, 60% of the solar equipment for green projects must be locally produced. Pirchard comments that, “You pretty much have to get your racking made in Ontario, because all the other components – silicon wafers and cells, for example – are not available and won’t be for a long time.”

Kristopher Stevens, Executive Director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, observes that, ‘We’re seeing a lots of manufacturers who are coming here or are transforming what they used to produce, to produce technologies that support solar, wind, thermal, and other things.”

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