David Orazietti, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Sault Ste. Marie, announced last month the approval by the Ontario provincial government of a $1,875,000 loan to Heliene Canada to launch a solar module manufacturing plant in the city. The financing is in accordance with the Green Energy Act – an ambitious bill designed to create a sustainable electricity system in the Canadian province. The loan will be disbursed to Heliene Canada through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC).
In addition to the loan, NOHFC also awarded a $625,000 grant to Heliene Canada as part of its Enterprises North Job Creation program. Once operational, the manufacturing plant will yield 36 new jobs to Ontario residents with the requisite solar energy training.
Ontario Economy to Benefit from the Loan
According to Orazietti, the government’s commitment to renewable energy helps create a stronger, more diversified Ontario economy. He says, “By supporting Heliene Canada, a value-added manufacturing [business] in the clean energy sector, we are creating high quality, well-paying jobs and positioning our city to be at the forefront of a growing industry.” Not only is the Green Energy Act creating new jobs, but it is also putting Ontario at the forefront of sustainable energy development.
Martin Pochtaruk, President of Heliene Canada, admits that the solar module manufacturing project could not exist without the financial support of NOHFC. He adds, “The Ontario Green Energy Act is the most visionary plan for renewable power generation in North America, which is needed to replace old coal-power energy generation with modern green technologies.”
The economy further reaps benefits from the business opportunities that additional photovoltaic equipment manufacturing entails. This includes companies that market, install, and maintain solar panels, and institutions that offer solar energy training and certification.
20 Megawatts of Capacity Expected Annually
Heliene Canada’s solar module manufacturing plant is set to produce 87,500 solar panels annually, with a total capacity of 20 megawatts (MW). This is expected to supply electricity to thousands of homes and lessen the province’s dependence on coal-powered energy.
Additionally, the energy produced through the solar panel technology is expected to augment the region’s power supply through the Ontario Power Authority’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) and microFIT initiatives, enabling homes and businesses to generate revenue from the power their solar PV systems feed back into the grid.
The solar module manufacturing plant and accompanying financing are considered milestones under the Green Energy Act. Other notable renewable energy projects approved by the Ontario government include a 70 MW co-generation plant by Essar Steel, a 20 MW solar energy farm by Starwood Energy, a methane collection system, a biofuel venture, and a tire recycling project.