The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) has awarded its Solar PV Project of the Year Award to Arizona’s First Solar, Inc. (First Solar), for its successful completion of the Canadian industry’s biggest solar energy installation, located in Sarnia, Ontario.
First Solar built the Sarnia installation and owns and operates it on behalf of Canada’s Enbridge, Inc., one of North America’s largest energy providers. Both companies accepted the award at this year’s CanSIA conference in Toronto early in December, and First Solar’s VP of Business Development, Peter Carrie, was awarded Solar Leader of the Year for his own contribution to the country’s solar energy industry.
First Solar completed a landmark expansion to the Sarnia facility in October that brought its capacity to generate solar power from 20 to 80 MW and officially made it the largest solar installation in the country, and by some estimates, in the world. First Solar’s renovations directly created green jobs for 800 workers and indirectly created countless others in design, engineering, and supply. The installation uses 1.3 million thin film solar panels that the companies expect to create about 120,000 MW of electricity and displace more than 39,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, or enough power to meet the needs of about 12,800 households.
Project, Province Benefit from Ontario’s Solar Trained Workers
Ontario benefits from a booming solar energy industry that includes manufacturing plants and training programs for solar installers. Programs like Ontario Solar Academy’s five-day PV design and installation course, for example, help to train both new and seasoned workers for green jobs in the province’s solar economy. Ontario currently enjoys the most community-owned energy production in North America, thanks in large part to its feed-in tariff program, which pays lucrative rates to producers of renewable energy who tie their projects into the electrical grid.
Projects like the Sarnia facility show what is possible when governments, communities, and corporations work towards common goals. “Together with Enbridge,” says First Solar’s Senior VP of Project Development for North America, Frank De Rosa, “we are leading the development of utility-scale solar energy in Canada.”
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