The owner of a green energy equipment manufacturer says his company and its workers depend on a Liberal victory in the coming election.
Samco Solar is based in Toronto. Bob Repovs, owner and CEO of Samco Solar, remains optimistic about the prospects for his industry.
“There has been a slowdown in the solar industry, but the program has created 20,000 jobs,” he said. “I don’t think (a new provincial government) is going to cancel a whole industry just like that.”
The 80,000-square-foot manufacturing plant specializes in racking systems for ground and rooftop-based solar panels. Qualifying under the Ontario FIT (feed-in-tariff) program, Samco Solar is a domestic content provider, currently employing 30 workers.
“If we have a Liberal government, we may have 50 or 60 employed. If we have a Conservative government, we may go down to 10, depending on what we would have to do to scale up or down,” Repovs said.
Dr. Willem Vanderberg, a University of Toronto civil engineering professor, explained the purpose of renewable energy still remains crucial, regardless of the election result.
“We need to be able to explore more sustainable sources, in relation to global warming, photo-voltaics are an essential part of that story,” he said. ”Without them in fact, our civilization wouldn’t have much of a future.”
Vanderberg, who has referred to Ontario’s energy policy in the past as “a comedy of errors,” believes the government’s energy projects make sense, but needs some adjusting.
“It was poorly handled, but the idea was good,” he said. “You kick-start something by subsidizing it and then when it takes off you pull the plug on it. That has worked in many jurisdictions because this stuff doesn’t become really attractive until you get mass production going and the price falls like a brick,” Vanderberg said.