Sun set to shine on Kingston: Everbrite announces plans for $500 million facility
After months of negotiation, Everbrite Solar announced that it will build a $500 million ultra-high efficiency thin-film photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing facility in Kingston, Ontario. According to its press release, Everbrite Solar forecasts that the facility's annual production of thin-film modules will be capable of produce 150 MW of clean power. The plant could generate up to 1,200 direct and indirect jobs in a community whose manufacturing sector has contracted significantly in recent years.
The announcement has attracted significant media coverage, including articles in the Kingston Whig Standard, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail. It is the latest in a series of proposed solar investments in Ontario, as discussed in a recent posting.
Everbrite Solar chose Kingston in part because of the potential for extensive research collaboration with Queen's University, particularly the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. The Department has several professors working on solar technologies, including Joshua Pearce and Steve Harrison. As part of its overall investment, EverBrite Solar is prepared to build a $25 million experimental thin-film manufacturing facility for use by Queen's researchers, provided that a collaboration agreement can be reached. EverBrite Solar CEO Karl Scherre expects that "Queen's participation in Everbrite Solar's Kingston research and development community will ensure that the ultra-high efficiency thin-film modules produced by Everbrite will continue to improve and be best in class for quality, efficiency and production costs." According to the Toronto Star, Dr. Pearce describes the plan as "a dream come true."
Some commentators are drawing parallels with the relationship between ARISE Technologies Corporation and the University of Waterloo, although ARISE established its principal manufacturing facilities in Germany.
Kingston may be well positioned to become a renewable energy centre of excellence. Several green power related initiatives already call Kingston home, including Performance Plants Inc. (which is affiliated with Queen's and has partnered with Lafarge in nearby Bath on a project), Canadian Hydro Developers Wolfe Island Wind Farm, SWITCH's alternative energy cluster, and various participants in Innovation Park. Also PARTEQ Innovations, which helps commercialize Queen's research, was recently awarded $9.1 million from the federal government to establish a National Centre of Excellence for the development and commercialization of Green Chemistry technologies. A company like EverBright Solar could be Kingston's Research in Motion.
EverBrite Solar is a subsidiary of EverBrite Industries Ltd., a full service industrial and commercial electrical contractor located in Toronto, Canada. EverBrite Solar continues to work with several investment advisors to raise the capital required for the proposed plant.