LATEST NEWS Green Building
July 22, 2011
SunEdison credits Ontario Green Energy Act for Newmarket solar photovoltaic manufacturing jobs
The creation of 400 solar industry jobs at a Newmarket, Ontario plant is an indicator that Ontario’s renewable energy policies and investments are working, says a SunEdison official.
“The FIT (Feed-In-Tariff) came in with a lot of expectations and the government did a great job in getting the word out that we are going to have a world-class FIT market to operate in,” said Sarah Simmons, SunEdison’s government affairs manager for Canada.
“To their credit, they got a lot of players to the table to develop and manufacture for the solar and wind industries.”
MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE:WFR) and SunEdison, its solar energy subsidiary, along with manufacturing partner Flextronics of Singapore(NASDAQ:FLEX), recently announced the creation of approximately 400 jobs to boost production of MEMC solar panels being manufactured at Flextronics’ Newmarket facility, about 50 kilometres north of Toronto. The new line of MEMC photovoltaic (PV) modules will be used by SunEdison and its channel partners for solar PV projects.
“Companies such as MEMC, their SunEdison subsidiary and Flextronics are creating real green jobs in local communities such as Newmarket, and are helping to build a renewable industry in the province through their investment in solar manufacturing,” said Sandra Pupatello, Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade, who attended the job announcement.
Stakeholders explain that the creation of the 400 jobs is a direct result of the 60-per-cent domestic content requirement of Ontario’s FIT program. Simmons noted that SunEdison’s Toronto office alone has grown from two full-time employees in November 2009 to the current to meet demand and growth in the sector.
Simmons also said that to meet SunEdison’s growth it has also had to increase its employment of local contractors for construction.
“For the most part, we have our own experts in-house who oversee the contractors we are working with,” she noted. “We can hand over specifications to them (contractors) for building and they can do that quite competently. We have great relationships with contractors in Ontario.”
As the provincial election campaign has unfolded this summer, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak has pledged to scrap a $7-billion green energy deal in place between Samsung and the province if he is elected. Some manufacturers in the solar and wind sectors have reported apprehension and loss of business interest because of the apparent short-term uncertainty of Ontario’s overall renewable energy direction.
SunEdison is “certainly paying attention” to what is unfolding in Ontario’s political landscape, but it believes solar power “has a lot of merits” and it is in position to demonstrate that. There is a global shift to the use of renewable energy and any government will be aware of that, said Simmons.
“We work in many jurisdictions around the world and with many different types of government. Solar does have a place to stay in Ontario and we are committed to whatever government is in power to help develop the most efficient and sustainable solar market in Ontario.”
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