Canadian Company Launches Solar Project in China

A Canadian company that owns one of the larger solar PV companies in the world has started a pilot project to generate solar electricity for homes in rural China.

CAMBRIDGE, Ontario – ATS Automation Tooling Systems will use its photovoltaic technology to provide solar power in western China. The pilot project has support from government and private sector partners, and expands on the success of an on-going PV project that started a year ago. “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 result of efforts by ATS, the Canadian Technology Early Action Measures Program, and Chinese partners Xining New Energy Development Company and China Renewable Energy Industry Association. The total estimated project costs are C$2.9 million, of which 90 percent will be provided 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.” Solar 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. In China, 70 million residents in rural areas lack access to electricity, and numerous islands off the coast rely on diesel generators for electricity. ATS’s solar panels provide a renewable source of energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing kerosene lamps, burning of wood and dried animal waste and associated emissions of carbon dioxide. Solar panels generate GHG benefits each year over their expected life of 20 years in harsh outdoor conditions. It is estimated that the market for solar home systems in remote areas of China will be 130 MW, or C$1.4 billion, over the next decade. ATS designs turn-key automated manufacturing and test systems for use in the electronics, automotive, healthcare, consumer products and other industries. Through its investments in Matrix Solar Technologies and Photowatt International SA, ATS is a major manufacturer and supplier of solar wafers, cells and panels for photovoltaic energy applications. The public company employs 3,200 people at 25 facilities in Canada, Asia, United States, and Europe, and has revenues of C$530 million.