Thursday, December 3, 2009

A real green shoot for once?

Seems a major alternative energy business is preparing to open a plant in Ontario:

KITCHENER – Solar module maker Canadian Solar Inc. is preparing to establish a manufacturing facility in Ontario that will create 500 direct jobs to take advantage of a provincial green-energy program that mandates local content.

The Kitchener-based company made the announcement this morning.

Canadian Solar, founded in 2001, said the new facility will be capable of manufacturing 200 megawatts of solar modules a year and will cost about $24 million to build. Site selection has begun and the first phase of operation is expected in 2010.

The company said in a statement the facility, once completed, will be one of the largest solar panel manufacturing plants in North America.

From the Record. Nice to see some good news for once. A bit odd, though, to see this:
Canadian Solar, which moved its headquarters to Kitchener earlier this fall, currently makes solar modules at plants in China.
And further down we see this:
Canadian Solar has been in business in other parts of the world since about 2001 and has built and installed solar modules producing about 500 megawatts of energy, mostly in Germany and Spain.
So a company that manufactures in Asia and sells in Europe has located its head office in Kitchener in preparation for expanding manufacturing to that area. Interesting. But there's a reason:

Under new local content rules, someone wishing to generate power under the program must show that the equipment and labour used to install the system consists of 40 per cent Ontario content for projects less than 10 kilowatts in size. Above that threshold, the required local content is 50 per cent.

Local content will rise to 60 per cent starting Jan. 1, 2011.

Canadian Solar has to make its projects compliant with those rules, so it wants to build a manufacturing facility next year in order to qualify for the Ontario content rules of 2011, Hammerbacher said.

So maybe local content rules aren't so bad after all, eh?

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