A Canadian company started a pilot project that will provide solar electricity to rural homes in western China.
CAMBRIDGE, Ontario – ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. will use its photovoltaic technology in and expansion on the success of an on-going project on PV renewable energy that started last year. “ATS is a world leader in the development and manufacture of photovoltaic energy products, and we are very proud of this project, one of the largest of its kind in China,” says president and CEO Klaus Woerner. “When completed, this project may provide electricity to 15,000 or more rural family homes in the western provinces of China. This pilot project is a strong endorsement of our leading renewable energy photovoltaic solar technology and is an important next step in providing affordable energy to remote areas of China and other parts of the world.” The project is the culmination of efforts by ATS, the Canadian government’s Technology Early Action Measures Program, and Xining New Energy Development and the China Renewable Energy Industry Association. The total costs are C$2.9 million, of which 90 percent will be covered by the Chinese partners. “This partnership between China, the Canadian Government and ATS is an example of the kind of support and co-operation necessary to effectively meet the challenges arising from global climate change,” adds Woerner. “The development of Canada’s renewable energy industry is fundamental to meeting Canada’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases. Continued support from all levels of government in Canada will be necessary if we are to position ourselves as a future leader in the rapidly growing solar energy industry.” PV technology is particularly useful in remote areas of developing countries, where the population is often scattered across large geographic areas and where electric grids are virtually non-existent. China has 25 percent of its villages and 15 million families in rural areas without access to electricity. There are also many islands off the coast of China where the sole power source is a diesel generator. The PV panels produced by ATS generate renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing the need for kerosene lamps, burning of wood and dried animal waste. It is estimated that the market for solar home systems in China during the next ten years will be 130 MW, or C$1.4 billion. ATS desigs turn-key automated manufacturing and test systems in computer-electronics, automotive, healthcare, consumer products and other industries. Through its investments in Matrix Solar Technologies and Photowatt International SA in France, ATS manufactures and supplies solar wafers, cells and panels for PV energy applications. It employs 3,200 people at 25 facilities in Canada, Asia, the U.S. and Europe. The public company has revenues of C$530 million.