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Ontario Feed-In Tariff to Create Green Jobs for Citizens

Ontario recently passed a feed-in tariff to help homeowners go solar. There is a catch, however. For all systems under 10 MW, 40 percent of the materials must come from within Ontario. Above 10 MW, the number is 50 percent from Ontario. This policy has been largely criticized by leading solar companies, who often refer to the law as “protectionist.” Despite all this, Canadian Solar, Inc. has plans to build a 200 MW-per-year manufacturing facility in the province to take advantage of the new law.

Canadian Solar was primarily a China-based manufacturer of solar panels, but with new incentives in Ontario, the company has plans to build one of the largest PV manufacturing facilities in North America. The new site will employ approximately 500 manufacturing jobs to the province at the $24-million location. Initial phases are set to run in 2010.

The Feed In Tariff program, launched this fall, pays 44.3 cents to 80.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity that comes from solar photovoltaic systems. As one of a handful of Ontario-based manufacturers, Canadian Solar hopes to reap those benefits. The Ontario Power Authority has put in applications for the FIT, which would allow Canadian Solar to become one of the premier developers of solar power projects in the province.

There are other companies looking to get in on the Ontario market. Companies such as Celestica, Inc. and Akeena Solar, Inc. of Los Gatos, CA, could be two players in the migration to Ontario. Celestica recently became a member of the Canadian Solar Industries Association.

So, despite the criticism Ontario has drawn for protecting the people of its province, it’s beginning to look like they did just what they hoped to do: secure jobs in Ontario during difficult times by using a promising technology as the catalyst. That’s looking out, if it works. Time has yet to tell, but with companies like Canadian Solar committing $24 million to new construction, that’s already a lot of Ontarian jobs. It’s a way to keep the market local at the very least.

It’s worth noting that Canadian Solar has over 4,000 employees. That’s a sizable company even if most of them reside in China.

Via Toronto Star & Home Power magazine

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Since 1987, Home Power magazine has been the leading renewable energy information source for end-users and professional alike. Topics include solar, wind, and hydro-electricity, solar hot water, energy efficient building, clean transportation technologies, and much more.

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