By Solar Academy International
German Solar Corporation recently announced plans to expand its assembly and distribution operations into London, Ontario in order to take advantage of the province's rapid solar development. Expecting to employ at least 20 associates once fully operational later this year, the 25,000 sq ft assembly plant will be dedicated to producing environmentally friendly solar arrays for both residential and commercial applications.
The timing of this announcement is no coincidence. Ontario's FIT program has helped spark a boom in solar energy investment and development, creating new business opportunities throughout Canada's solar energy industry. Even firms situated much farther down the value chain are reporting significant upticks in business. Director of Ontario Solar Academy, Jacob Travis, observed that "with all of these new incentives, interest in our 5-Day solar panel design and installation training course has grown exponentially." Travis went on to add that "German Solar Corporation's recent announcement bodes well for all of our of high caliber graduates - past, present, and future."
One such graduate, Adam German, believes that the benefits work in both directions. The connections he made over his 5 days of PV design and installation training could prove invaluable as he helps expand both the scope and scale of German Solar Corporation. Moreover, as a graduate of the Ontario Solar Academy, Adam will join a growing group of alumni who are active in the Ontario Solar Network - a renewable energy community formed under the aegis of Ontario Solar Academy.
Originally formed as a strategic partnership amongst Kaco New Energy Group, Deutshe Solargesellschaft, and German Energy Alternatives Inc, German Solar Corporation seems well positioned to intercept Ontario Solar Academy's graduates as it develops turnkey solar array solutions for both residential (1.8kWp to 10kWp) and commercial customers (100kWp to 600kWp+). A quick glance at its various service offerings almost reads like the curriculum outline from Ontario Solar Academy's training program:
comprehensive feasibility analyses
rooftop leasing arrangements
permits and regulatory approvals
high-end solar equipment (domestic content)
construction, installation, and connection
But what of the City of London? How did they greet the news?
As can be imagined, the reaction was enthusiastic. Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best glowingly remarked that "renewable technology is a strategic focus for the City of London, and we warmly welcome [German Solar Corporation] to London and know they will be successful…."
President and CEO of the London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), Peter White, followed up on Mayor DeCicco-Best's praise, offering
"at the 2009 Economic Summit, the city's investment in renewable technology received wide support from academia, government, business, and the community as a whole. It has been an absolute pleasure, and honour, for the LEDC team to work closely with German Solar Corporation. We value their confidence in London as a centre of excellence for this industry and look forward to continuing to work closely with them as this investment moves forward."
Phil Scarfone, VP of Sales and spokesperson for German Solar Corporation returned by saying,
"our new facility, already built in London, Ontario, will be the catalyst for our goals to deliver world class solar array projects to Ontario…. We are confident that our solar array business will grow and be successful in Ontario with the continued strong support and cooperation from the City of London and the province of Ontario."
This London expansion is just one of many stages in German Solar Corporation's grander vision. Phase II of its strategy involves adding another 500,000 sq ft facility plus 40 new jobs within the next two years.