The first thin-film manufacturing plant to be built in Canada will be located in Kingston, Ontario, which is located about three hours east of Toronto. Everbrite Solar, a Toronto-based company, will license turnkey manufacturing technology from a supplier overseas — details to come later — and plans to have the $500-million facility up and churning out 150 megawatts of solar modules annually by the end of next year. The plan also includes a $25-million pilot production line that will be used by researchers at neighbouring Queen’s University to test out thin-film performance and reliability advances coming out of their solar lab. The announcement comes a few weeks after the Ontario government tabled its Green Energy Act, which gives priority access to the grid for renewables. The act is expected to pass in June.
Also announced recently was a new advanced feed-in tariff program that will see the province’s power authority pay between 44.3 cents and 80.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of solar power generated by local projects. The highest tariffs goes to owners of residential rooftop solar systems, while the lowest goes to developers of multimegawatt ground-mounted systems. The prices aren’t set in stone, however. The Ontario Power Authority will spend the next few weeks holding stakeholder consultation to fine-tune the pricing.
Everbrite Solar’s announcement is just the latest sign that momentum is building in the Ontario market.