Waxman Industrial Services, Ltd. (Waxman), recently announced that it will host an 87,000 square foot photovoltaic (PV) installation on its Burlington, Ontario rooftop. Installing solar panels on the building’s roof will create work for graduates of Ontario’s green energy training courses. When complete, the installation will produce an estimated 500 kW of environmentally-friendly electricity per hour.
Waxman is Canada’s fastest-growing metals recycling company, with operations in Hamilton, Brantford, and Burlington. Toronto’s Atlantic Wind and Solar, Inc. (Atlantic) will construct, own, and operate the new rooftop facility. Atlantic is a commercial aggregator – a company that leases space for installations that generate energy to sell at a profit. The agreement between Waxman and Atlantic was brokered by Cushman & Wakefield, Ltd., a global real estate firm with offices across Canada and on most continents.
Atlantic operates a number of projects that participate in Ontario’s lucrative feed-in tariff (FIT) program. The FIT encourages investment into green energy by paying owners of solar, wind, and biomass power projects above-market rates for electricity they feed into the grid. The microFIT offers even higher prices, depending on the type of installation, for projects of 10 kW and less. Last summer, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) barred commercial aggregators from participating in the microFIT.
FIT, MicroFIT Create Alternative Energy, Jobs
A number of businesses, including IKEA, have chosen to produce alternative energy on their Ontario properties and rooftops, largely motivated by the FIT’s high prices. This increased interest in green energy has led to a dramatic increase in the number of solar, wind, and biomass projects that operate in the province and has helped to create thousands of jobs. According to one estimate, Ontario will install about 2400 MW of clean electricity-generating capacity between 2010 and 2012, and a recent study conducted by ClearSky Advisors suggests that the region may add as many as 70,000 “person-years” of employment in the green energy sector by 2015. The FIT, microFIT, and the popularity of solar panels and other types of installations have also inspired industry players to offer courses for workers interested in making the switch to careers in renewable energy, such as Ontario Solar Academy’s five-day solar panel installation course.