Canadian Solar Inc. held a Guelph job fair in early February to help fill the more than 400 green jobs that the company has recently created. There are already 100 people working in the company’s plant for the current production line, and next week marks the company’s first solar module shipment. Two more production lines are coming alone soon, prompting the company to hold the job fair.
Milfred Hammerbacher, President of Canadian Solar Solutions, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc. is a picture of enthusiasm for his company’s product. ”I’ve been in the solar business a long time. It’s still amazing to me that you can take a panel like this and generate electricity,” he says. When fully operational, the Guelph plant is capable of producing 220 MW of solar energy per year.
Ontario’s Green Energy Act and FIT Ramp Up Green Jobs
Canadian Solar Inc. initially outsourced production of its solar panels to seven plants in China, but with the arrival of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, the company decided to bring its production capacity closer to home in order to qualify for the province’s domestic content requirements. While the company’s solar cells are still made in China, the panels are assembled in a Guelph factory that the company purchased in September of 2010. The Ontario Green Energy Act is also responsible for the feed-in-tariff (FIT) program, which is a pricing structure for the production of renewable energy. The FIT program has not only brought manufacturers into the province, but it has also attracted investors, thereby expanding green job opportunities and interest in solar classes.
Importance of Solar Classes for Green Job Opportunities
According to sources, Canadian Solar’s job fair was immensely successful. Prospective employees not only filled a meeting room, but they also queued down the hallway and spilled out into the parking lot. One of the applicants interviewed is a Cambridge resident who just lost his job at a metal stamping company – stories like his are common.
As older industries like metal stamping and automotive manufacturing continue to face dwindling prospects, it is likely that more citizens across the province will begin exploring green job opportunities like those offered by Canadian Solar. However, success favors the most prepared, suggesting that those truly interested in qualifying for the green jobs of tomorrow should secure the requisite training in solar design and PV installation.