A 10 MW solar park is under development in Thunder Bay, Ontario as a result of a landmark agreement between SkyPower and Fort Williams First Nation (FWFN). The park is expected to be Canada’s first large-scale solar development on First Nation Land, when completed this summer. Using an estimated 45,000 panels on land leased from FWFN, the project will create enough clean electricity to power the equivalent of 1,000 homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 130,000 tonnes over the first twenty years of the project,
“Our energy plan is creating jobs for Ontario families and is turning Ontario into a global clean energy powerhouse” said the Hon. Brad Duguid, Minister of Energy. According to Kerry Adler, SkyPower President and CEO, “We are creating high quality, good paying jobs and providing local investment that will strengthen the local economy.” It is estimated that the FWFN solar park development could create as many as 100 local green jobs, thus, helping to spur demand for photovoltaic installation classes and related solar training opportunities. This is especially true given the province’s domestic content requirements that mandate a certain portion of all renewable energy projects use local labour and materials in order to qualify for government incentives. Chief among these incentives is the Ontario Power Authority’s feed-in tariff (FIT), which effectively links solar energy to economic development and career opportunities by rewarding early solar adopters for clean energy fed back into the grid.
John Farrell, the author of a report released by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) entitled “Maximizing Jobs from Clean Energy: Ontario’s ‘Buy Local’ Energy Policy” indicates that, “The domestic content requirement has already resulted in 43,000 jobs and dozens of new manufacturing plants to support the 5,000 MW of clean energy.” In addition to providing opportunities for those with solar panel installation training, the province will receive direct, long-term economic stimulus as a result of international solar PV manufacturers moving into Ontario in order to ensure their products qualify for the province’s attractive FIT program.
Training and Certification for Photovoltaic Installation
Increasing demand for workers trained in solar panel installation has resulted from expanding solar energy developments in Ontario. This has translated into increased enrollment in the types of photovoltaic training courses offered by ISPQ-accredited Ontario Solar Academy.
The province’s solar energy industry is burgeoning as a result of Ontario’s ground-breaking Green Energy Act and its associated legislation. This growing, local industry creates many long-term benefits such as augmented economic growth, increased solar energy career opportunities, and a much more sustainable (and clean) Ontario.