ATS Automation establishes Photowatt Ontario, plans to start solar module manufacturing in 1H2010

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In another example of companies moving to take advantage of Ontario’s attractive feed-in tariff, ATS Automation has established Photowatt Ontario. The companies have already participated in a number of development projects in the province and will begin manufacturing modules during the first half of 2010 in Cambridge, ON, as well as through a contract manufacturing arrangement with an unnamed Ontario-based partner.

Photowatt Ontario is located in the solar energy center or “green wing” at ATS’s Fountain Street campus. The unit manufactures solar modules and provides complete solutions to installers and developers including modules, balance of system, technical support, project management, financing and site maintenance.

“Demand for solar energy is rapidly developing in Ontario and our established team has been actively applying their many years of technical, manufacturing and managerial expertise in integrated project development and installation to serve that demand,” said Anthony Caputo, CEO of ATS. “Photowatt Ontario has a number of project development opportunities in the pipeline, many of which have now been submitted as Feed-In Tariff applications to the Ontario Power Authority.”

Over the past seven years, ATS and Photowatt have been involved in the development of more than 10 solar projects in Ontario. The company says that Photowatt Ontario will benefit directly from more than 30 years of solar cell and module design and manufacturing experience resident in the Photowatt group (which has a vertically integrated crystalline-silicon photovoltaic production facility in France).

ATS says it is speaking with a number of upstream producers regarding potential colocation in its green wing, which it envisions will become a center of solar energy innovation. It has invited others wishing to participate in the Ontario market and/or produce products in Ontario to consider cooperation and colocation.

Further details about the module assembly plant (such as capacity. level of automation, etc.), the outsourcing deal, or any projects in the development pipeline have not been disclosed. Calls by PV-Tech to ATS to get more information have so far not been returned.

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