Ontario’s Solar Economy Suffers Temporary Setback

A renewable energy development deal between Samsung and Six Nations has been called off due to a disclosure related disconnect. The deal was to involve a partnership between the two parties, geared towards the construction and operation of two renewable energy projects and the continued development of Ontario’s solar economy. Last year, to outline the deal, Samsung and Six Nations signed a memorandum of understanding. But according to Six Nations elected band council, Chief Bill Montour, Samsung was “Very closed about the information we needed,” ultimately leading to the deal’s disintegration.

The project was to be a part of Samsung’s $7 billion renewable energy deal with the Ontario government. This primary deal between Ontario, Samsung, and the Korea Electric Power Corporation, was to be the foundation of the Liberal government’s plan to encourage private sector-backed clean energy projects in the province, while also creating renewable energy careers. The net objective of this deal with the province was to involve the construction of four clean energy manufacturing plants in Ontario, and the creation of 16,000 new jobs with the assistance of independently available solar training classes regularly positioned throughout Ontario. Notably, these limited capacity solar training classes are selling out, with Ontario Solar Academy’s recent sold out session in Northern Ontario serving as testament to the overall demand for trained professionals in the province. Currently the Academy is hosting solar training classes in Toronto.

Impact on Solar Economy, Six Nations, and Renewable Energy Careers

The cancelled partnership represents a temporary obstacle to both Samsung and Six Nations. The renewable energy careers expected as a product of the deal would certainly bolster the aboriginal community’s economy and the province’s solar economy in general. Comparatively, at the time the primary deal with the Ontario government was signed, it was revealed that Samsung was to receive $437 million in subsidies, beyond those already projected under the feed-in-tariff (FIT) rates received in connection with wind and solar projects. It is not yet known what Samsung will do next in lieu of the arrangement breaking down.

Had it proceeded, the Six Nations deal was to involve a 260 megawatt joint wind and solar project in Port Maitland and a smaller 10 megawatt solar project at Fifth Line on Six Nations. Montour lamented the failed deal, stating that “We spent a lot of time trying to understand each other,” and noted that Samsung was “Not comfortable dealing with the public sector’s needs.” According to Montour, Samsung was basically saying, “Sign this deal and trust us,” which wasn’t an acceptable degree of disclosure. Montour added, “There are plenty of other North American companies that are just as capable with this and we will be going forward with that.”

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