Canadian Solar Inc. to open solar module factory in Ontario
Canadian Solar Inc. plans to build a $24 million solar module manufacturing facility in Ontario, according to a press release issued this week. The facility is expected to create 500 jobs and will have an annual production capacity of about 200 MW, enough to equip 60,000 homes.
The company's decision to invest in Ontario was driven by the province's commitment to transition to clean energy. "When considering Ontario for our next investment in manufacturing, we looked at the strength of R&D and the governments' commitment to investing in a low carbon economy. We are looking forward to working with government representatives in creating jobs and a viable solar market in Ontario and across Canada," said Milfred Hammerbacher, President of the subsidiary, Canadian Solar Solutions Inc.
Canadian Solar Inc. is rumoured to be playing both sides of the Feed-in Tariff ("FIT") game. As a manufacturer, it hopes to capitalize on the domestic content requirements for solar systems under the FIT, which start at 40% for residential systems and 50% for larger systems in 2010 and rise to 60% across the board in 2011. As a project developer, Canadian Solar may become one of its own best customers. It reportedly submit several applications during the launch phase of the FIT, which closed Monday.
It is expected that more clean energy manufacturing investment will follow. While it remains to be seen how much renewable capacity (including solar) the OPA will procure under the FIT in the near term, the OPA had indicated that the Ontario grid could accommodate about 4,500 MW. While the government is no doubt pleased with the job projections for the Canadian Solar facility, the 500 jobs represent only 1% of the 50,000 green collar jobs former Minister Smitherman promised when he launched the Green Energy Act.