Canadian Manufacturing

JNE’s $5M solar panel plant coming to Ontario

Hamilton company partners with Chinese firm

HAMILTON: An upcoming $5-million solar panel assembly project is expected to bring 300 manufacturing jobs to Hamilton, Ont.

JNE Consulting, a Canadian engineering company, is entering into a joint venture with the Chinese manufacturing firm, Daqo Group Co. Ltd. to build the project.

The plant should be up and running in two years, the Hamilton company said, adding other project details are still being worked out.

JNE is investing $1.5 million and Daqo Group is contributing $3.5 million.

It’s the most recent in a string of Canadian renewable energy manufacturing agreements with foreign companies.

B.C.’s Day4 Energy Inc. just announced plans to combine its solar photovoltaic technology with German firm Roth & Rau AG’s production technologies. That memorandum also involves Alinement BV, a prospective Day4 solarSYSTEMS partner in the Netherlands.

Although Canadian companies are turning to partners overseas, the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) says Canada’s solar manufacturing industry is steadily making gains.

According to its most recent data, there were 2,700 full time jobs related to photovoltaic activity in Canada in 2009, a 30 per cent increase from the previous year.

Of those jobs, in areas such as R&D and sales, the biggest increases were in manufacturing as new companies set up bases in Ontario, mostly driven by the province’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) program.

Day4 and Quebec’s Centennial Solar manufactured 42 MW of modules in 2009 while two more Quebec companies, 5N Plus and Bécancour Silicon, produced 125 metric tonnes of the solar cell material compound, Cadmium telluride, and 182 metric tonnes of silicon, respectively.

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