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Solar cell makers see the light

Published by Steve Coleman on August 18, 2011

One Ontario solar panel maker is planning to expand. Another says the red tape insulating new projects from the power grid are slowing it down.

The provincial government added another $1 million on Aug. 18 to the $2.5 million already given to Heliene Canada Inc. in Sault Ste. Marie. Meanwhile, Guelph's Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. says slow project implementation has left a cloud hanging over its business.

A government program launched in September 2009 to give small solar power producers an opportunity to sell their power on the grid has been hampered by the number of applications trying to get into the microFIT program, Canadian Solar Solutions president Milfred Hammerbacher told the Guelph Mercury.

Hydro One applied to the Ontario Energy Board for a six-month exemption from the usual timelines to try and wake through the backlog of paperwork. The Guelph company says it could have another 150 people on staff if the delays weren't there.

The Sault Ste. Marie solar panel maker with its workforce of 72 expects to run three shifts while it expands its operations. The plant is a $15 million joint venture between Canadian entrepreneurs and Helios Energy of Barcelona, Spain.

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