Canada’s Manitoba provincial government has revealed its ambitious plan to establish a state-of-the-art solar manufacturing hub with an impressive 10 GW annual capacity to meet the surging demand for solar energy in North America. Joining forces with Germany's RCT Solutions GmbH, a renowned player in the solar industry, the $3 billion project aims to create the world's cleanest and most advanced solar module production facility.
RCT Solutions’ ground-breaking manufacturing plant will be an industry-first, encompassing all production stages, including a glass factory, with a total annual output capacity of 10 GW (equivalent to 10,000 MW) of solar panel power once fully operational. Peter Fath, the Founder and CEO of RCT Solutions, expressed enthusiasm for the project's potential and its contribution to renewable energy development.
Earlier this year, Hanwha Solutions announced its own plans for a significant ingot to module PV production complex with an 8.4 GW capacity, scheduled to come online in 2024. However, Manitoba's project promises to surpass this capacity and become the largest of its kind in North America.
As part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Manitoba, RCT Solutions will begin by designing the project, selecting a suitable site, and presenting a development plan for the solar panel fabrication facility within an undisclosed timeframe. Once fully operational, the manufacturing hub is projected to produce a staggering 2 million solar panels annually, making a substantial impact on the region's renewable energy landscape.
In a transformative move for the North American PV market, the forthcoming solar manufacturing hub in Manitoba promises to significantly reduce the region's reliance on imported modules, primarily sourced from China. With export advantages on the horizon, this ambitious project aims to bolster the region's solar industry.
Highlighting the environmental benefits, Manitoba's Economic Development, Investment, and Trade Minister, Jeff Wharton, proudly stated that the plant will boast one of the world's lowest carbon footprints. The manufacturing and export of solar panels are expected to make substantial contributions to Manitoba's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and enhance the province's overall economic outlook.
The Canadian government wholeheartedly supports this endeavor and will provide assistance through federal and provincial economic stimulus programs to RCT Solutions. Notably, the project is projected to create around 8,000 new jobs, providing a much-needed boost to the local economy.
Reports indicate that RCT Solutions, in collaboration with its local industry partner Sio Silica, had been advocating for the 10 GW fabrication facility to the government. Sio Silica proposed a silica extraction and processing facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, further augmenting the region's solar manufacturing potential.
Taking inspiration from the United States’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which has attracted significant PV manufacturing investments from global investors, Canada is also leveraging investment tax credits under Budget 2023 to entice solar investors and support the advancement of clean technology in the country.
While Canada embraces solar manufacturing with incentives and regulatory backing, there have been recent reports of Canadian solar panel manufacturer Heliene’s plans to invest $145 million in a new facility in Minnesota, USA. This facility is slated to produce 1.5 GW of cells and 1 GW of modules annually.
As Canada and the US compete to attract solar investments, Manitoba's ambitious solar manufacturing hub marks a significant step towards sustainable energy development and economic prosperity for the region.