In an interview with Photovoltaics International, Heliene´s president Martin Pochtaruk said that “the first modules should go out to Ontario, followed with shipments to the U.S. Midwest, by the end of August or September”.
The Heliene facility will start out with an “initial capacity of 30MWp per year,” he explained. “The plant is modular and can easily be expanded up to 80MW.”
Capabilities for both multi- and monocrystalline silicon-based modules will be in place at the facility, with the cells being supplied by Suniva in the U.S., he said. Initially, 60- and 72-cell modules, with power outputs up to 300W, will come off the production line.
The plant’s manufacturing line will be 80 per cent automated — meaning minimal operational personnel — accessed and managed through a system of touchscreens. The manufacturing line will be constructed and assembled in Europe by SAP, a sister company of Helios Energy. Once the plant is up and running, the workforce will total about 40 people, based on “eight employees per shift of operation and approximately 10 administrative positions.”
Pochtaruk explains the the decision to locate the plant in Sault-Ste-Marie: “From the logistics point of view, Sault Ste. Marie is centrally located to ship products throughout Canada and the United States,”. “While in Ontario to provide the domestic content required for PV investments made in the province,” [we can] tap into a well-developed workforce, particularly focused on renewable energy.”