Toronto’s Celestica, Inc. (Celestica) and San Francisco-based Recurrent Energy have recently agreed to enter into a joint venture to produce components for solar installations in Ontario. The partnership will support the region’s rapidly-growing green economy by creating up to 2,300 jobs and manufacturing domestically-produced materials for its career solar workers and students of renewable energy classes.
Celestica is a global provider of design and engineering expertise, electronics manufacturing, and supply chain management services with operations across North America, Europe, and Asia. The company’s previous work in Ontario includes making components for the BlackBerry smartphone. Recurrent Energy is a subsidiary of Japan’s Sharp Corporation that develops, builds, finances, and operates solar power systems in North America, Europe, and other emerging markets.
Celestica will manufacture Recurrent Energy’s solar panels at its facilities in Toronto. Recurrent Energy plans to use the modules in nineteen photovoltaic projects for which it has signed contracts with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to participate in its lucrative feed-in tariff program (FIT).
Photovoltaic Industry Number Two in N. America, on Course to Number One
The FIT pays producers of electricity from solar, wind, and biomass installations above-market rates to tie their projects into the provincial power grid, but it requires participating solar projects to include 60% made-in-Ontario materials and regional labour. The program creates enormous opportunities for green energy production as well as new career options. It also opens up new educational streams like photovoltaic system design and installation classes and other courses that train Ontario’s workers and students for today’s energy jobs.
Ontario saw a boom in its solar industry following its institution of the FIT. This growth culminated in the province ranking second in North America for installed photovoltaic capacity in 2010, and a recent analysis revealed that the region may be on course to surpass California and take first place in the coming year. In addition to creating green energy and jobs, Recurrent Energy and Celestica’s contributions to this thriving industry will include materials to help the region’s developers and solar class graduates meet the FIT’s domestic content requirements. The joint venture joins a number of partnerships operating in the province that capitalize on the demand for solar power while they help Ontario make the switch to more environmentally-friendly forms of energy generation.