Green Jobs Rounding out Manufacturing Positions

Photo: istockphotos

Ontario’s Green Energy Act appears to be playing a significant role in boosting the province's economy as demand for skilled labour and new technologies transforms towns more accustomed to monolithic industries.

Under the Act, communities earn a premium for renewable power projects in which they have an economic stake.  Such incentives are helping to breath new life into the province’s underused manufacturing capacity at a time when green jobs are at the forefront of an economic rebound in Ontario.

Solar Economy Joins Traditional Economic Heavyweights

Some Ontario cities that once depended directly or indirectly on the car industry are now looking to green jobs as demand for auto manufacturing continues to decline.  Training in photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing and solar installation is expected to grow along with demand for these new skills.

About an hour’s drive west of Toronto, a Kitchener-based company has retooled itself from a primarily auto manufacturer to a solar economy player - solar assets from ATS Automation Tooling Systems were spun off into Canadian Solar.  At a new PV solar module facility expected to be completed later this year, experts predict as many as 500 new green jobs could emerge.

In another mature industry, former steel executives are among the private investors backing a new PV solar panel manufacturing plant owned by Heliene Canada in Sault Ste. Marie.  The government of Ontario has also invested $2.5 million in this new project.  When it is fully operational, Heliene Canada will employ at least 36 workers.

PV Panels to Transform Canada’s Motor City

In Windsor, a former auto executive is the driving force behind another solar panel manufacturer.  Sean Moore, CEO of Unconquered Sun Solar Technologies, says the plant will employ 40 by the end of the summer, creating PV solar panels used in the types of installations included in recent project announcements.  Solar panels represent about half the cost of a typical solar home installation.

Another Windsor-area plant intends to create some 200 new jobs.  Solar Source Corp. credits government investments and Windsor-Essex's highly skilled labour force with helping it secure a new partnership with India-based Hind High Vacuum Co. (HHV Solar) - a company specializing in crystalline silicon solar PV panels.

Ross Beatty, President of Solar Source Corp., is impressed with the way Windsor has embraced the greening of the province’s economy. "Solar Source Corp. is pleased to be associated with the City of Windsor for our initial solar panel manufacturing launch into the North American market," Mr. Beatty says.

Austin Brentley is a born and bred Washingtonian who has spent the last 9 years traveling the globe, living in New York, Hawaii, Japan, Thailand, France, and most recently, Malaysia.  Passionate about all things green, Austin currently works with the Ontario Solar Academy, writing news stories and blogs about North America's growing solar revolution.  Feel free to drop him a line if you have questions about photovoltaic technology or solar panel installation training.