MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (MEMC), has announced a new partnership with Flextronics International (Flextronics) to produce solar panels that comply with the standards and regulations of the province’s feed-in tariff (FIT) program. The partnership will produce the panels at an existing facility in Newmarket, Ontario, and the companies expect to create 100 new alternative energy careers in the province while they provide made-in-Ontario materials for workers with PV installation training. MEMC and Flextronics will initially produce 50 MW worth of solar panels per year, with the potential for as much as 200 MW in the future. Production is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2011.
Flextronics is a Singapore-based provider of electronics manufacturing services with facilities in thirty countries on four continents. The company was recognized by Fortune Magazine on both its “World’s Most Admired Companies” and “Global 500” lists for 2010 and promises, on its website, to “optimize… customers’ operations, lower their costs and reduce time to market.” Flextronics will manufacture panels at the Newmarket facility under the MEMC brand.
Missouri’s MEMC is a global provider of wafers and other products used by the semiconductor and solar industries. The company has more than fifty years’ worth of training and experience in the field and will sell its solar panels for installations in Ontario through its Canadian subsidiary, SunEdison. Through SunEdison, MEMC is the largest solar energy service provider on the continent.
Ontario FIT Creates Green Opportunities
Since 2009, Ontario’s FIT has helped to create a whole alternative energy industry by paying above-market rates for electricity producers feed into the grid from renewable sources such as solar, wind, and biomass. The new economy includes careers in solar panel manufacturing and installation plus various programs to train workers and students for the new realities of green energy. SunEdison’s role in the partnership will allow MEMC’s solar panels to qualify as domestic content under FIT provisions, which mandate that a certain portion of participating projects’ labour and materials comes from Ontario.
Partnerships such as MEMC’s with Flextronics help put Ontario on the map when it comes to green energy, and they bring the province one step closer to the FIT’s goal to phase out coal-fired power plants in the region by 2014.