Celebrating its 20th year, Germanys Intersolar tradeshow is the worlds largest gathering for the solar industry, with 75,000 visitors and 2,200 exhibitors. Executives from the Ontario Clean Technology Alliance are attending Intersolar 2011 in Munich this week to attract trade and investment to a Canadian province that the David Suzuki Foundation estimates could see consumer and industrial solar equipment investments by 2025 for 1,236 megawatts (MW) of solar systems, 800,000 solar domestic water heaters, 120,000 solar pool heaters, and passive solar heating in 420,000 new homes.
Regional members of the Ontario Clean Technology Alliance want to show solar energy companies from around the world that Ontario is the best place in North America to expand or relocate their businesses. Ontario offers targeted alternative energy and clean technology incentives, a deep talent pool, and strong and stable economy. Spurred by these advantages, here are some recent examples of solar industry progress in Ontario:
In May 2011, Algatec Solar AG, Germany, announced a facility in Windsor-Essex, Ontario and an investment of CDN $10 million in the province. Algatec Solar Ontario will manufacture photovoltaic (PV) modules and employ 200 people by the second phase of its operation. Also in May in Windsor-Essex, United Solar, a subsidiary of U.S. company, Energy Conversion Devices Inc., announced an investment of US $12 million for a 7,000 square meter Ontario facility to manufacture thin-film solar laminates.
Also in May 2011, German company, KACO new energy Inc., opened KACO Canada in London, Ontario. KACO Canada forecasts employing 100 people by the end of its first year, and the plant will produce as much as 0.7 GW of inverters.
In January 2011, Kitchener, Ontario-based Canadian Solar Inc. announced that it was one of the module suppliers to SunEdison, which successfully interconnected a 70 MW PV power plant in Northeast Italy, now the largest capacity single-operating PV solar power plant in Europe.
In Oct. 2010, Enbridge Inc. and First Solar, Inc. achieved commercial operation of the 80 MW Sarnia, Ontario Solar Project, one of the largest operating PV facilities in the world. It generates about 120,000 MWh per year of emissions-free power, enough to power about 12,800 homes.
In August 2010, Canadian Solar Inc. announced the creation of one of the largest solar panel module manufacturing plants in North America in the neighbouring community of Guelph, Ontario. The new facility will be capable of manufacturing 200 MW of solar modules a year, while employing approximately 500 people.
In April 2010, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) announced 651 MW of ground-mounted solar projects, 76 projects in total. In February 2011, another 35 solar projects, representing 257 MW, were added to this list.
For the international solar industry, our most compelling attraction is the Ontario Power Authoritys feed-in tariff, or FIT Program. It features North Americas first comprehensive guaranteed pricing structure for renewable electricity production, offering stable prices under long-term contracts for solar photovoltaic, on-shore wind, biomass, biogas, landfill gas, and waterpower energy, says Catharine Gerhard, Business Development Officer with Waterloo Regions Canadas Technology Triangle Inc., an Ontario Clean Technology Alliance member.
Ontario is a North American leader in the adoption of green energy policies with its passing of the Green Energy Act in May 2009. Other targeted programs available to the alternative energy and clean technology sector include: Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund, Ontario Innovation Demonstration Fund, Ontario Power Authority Technology Development Fund, SDTC Sustainable Tech Fund, and SDTC NextGen Biofuels Fund.
The Ontario Clean Technology Alliance offers excellent growth opportunities to clean technology companies, a low-risk business environment, and generous R&D tax credits that are the envy of other G-8 countries. Ontario economic incentives along with Canadian federal tax credits can cut the after-tax cost of every $100 spent in R&D to as low as $36.72.