Here comes the sun

April 7, 2010   by Noelle Stapinsky, Features Editor

Day4 rooftop solar modules being installed at Aster Holzbau, a wood products manufacturer in Jenesien, Italy.

Photos: Day4

The race is on in Ontario to lock down land and rooftop leases for solar panel installations where the provincial government is offering attractive guaranteed rates for the energy they produce, but the one glitch many eager renewable energy companies are plagued by is the lack of suppliers.

As part of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, the Ontario Power Authority has introduced a renewable energy feed-in program (FIT), North America’s first comprehensive pricing structure for renewable electricity production. The program is intended to phase out coal-fired electricity generation, boost the development of renewable energy technologies and create new green industries and jobs.

But to benefit from the FIT program, companies have to meet its 50% content requirements, meaning half of all materials, such as converters, cables, solar panels and labour, must be sourced from within the province.

This represents an opportunity for Toronto-based Hybridyne Power Systems Canada—a subsidiary of Atlantic Wind and Solar Inc.­—which specializes in international sales and installation of hybrid wind and solar renewable energy systems. Hybridyne had tentative plans to manufacture wind turbines in Newfoundland, but is now looking at Ontario.

“There are not very many companies in Ontario right now that can meet these requirements and a lot of people are scrambling to start manufacturing panels and wind turbines here,” says Brent O’Connor, investor relations for Atlantic Wind and Solar.

The company is already racking up orders. It recently announced a solar energy park installation in Newcastle, Ont., about 80 kilometres north of Toronto. And photovoltaic solar panels supplied by Burnaby, BC-based Day4 Energy Inc. will be installed on 10 acres of land to produce 2 megawatts of power, enough to power 360 homes.

“This will be the largest [project] of its kind for a Canadian company and also for a Canadian solar panel manufacturer,” says O’Connor.

The Day4 order also included an additional 3.1 megawatts of solar panels destined for rooftop installations in the Toronto area.

Although Hybridyne will not disclose which buildings will get the additional panels, O’Connor says that 1.23 megawatts of the order will be used on six roof tops it has secured with Remington Group, an Ontario real estate developer.

Hybridyne has also formed an alliance with Cushman and Wakefield, one of the largest privately owned commercial realtors in North America.

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