When Italian solar energy pioneer Franco Traverso set out to launch one of the most automated photovoltaic processes in the world, his sights turned to the opportunity in Ontario. Traverso, founder and CEO of Silfab, is a renowned 30-year expert in the field of photovoltaics (PV); having broken new ground in smart module technology, glass on glass and bifacial modules. Ontario's diverse network of universities and R&D facilities support the skilled workforce Silfab Solar requires to lead the evolution of PV products and production processes. And with over 200 languages spoken here and more than 50% of the population foreign-born, Ontario offers international businesses and individuals an environment in which they can quickly feel at home.

Ontario's innovative, business-friendly environment helps Silfab grow

"Thanks to local green energy incentives and Ontario's Feed-in-Tariff program, Silfab Solar opened its $13.5 million, state of the art manufacturing facility in Mississauga, Ontario in 2011," said Silfab Solar's COO, Paolo Maccario. "[And] the Government of Ontario assisted with the large capital investment necessary to build an industry-leading manufacturing facility."

However, it is Ontario's business-friendly environment that has helped the company grow, explains Silfab Solar's Geoff Atkins. "We continue to develop partnerships and relationships, while access to a highly skilled labour force has been crucial in advancing our business." Responsible for business development, Atkins describes Silfab Solar's remarkable growth. "In 2015, Silfab more than doubled its production to 300 megawatts capacity and is now one of the top PV production facilities in North America. [And] EDC has been a strong partner in helping us expand into new markets and territories."

Access to the world's largest free trade market and the lowest business costs among G7 countries

Doing business in Ontario gives companies like Silfab easy access to the massive NAFTA market, the largest free trade region in the world, with a combined market of 470 million people, while enjoying the lowest business costs among G7 countries. Businesses in Ontario also benefit from a combined federal-provincial corporate income tax rate lower than any country in the G7, while health care costs here are, on average, half those of their US counterparts, thanks to universal health care.

A bright future for Silfab Solar and Ontario's renewable energy sector

A trailblazer at heart, Franco Traverso has driven Silfab to become the first in the world to manufacture highly efficient bifacial cells on a large industrial scale and his company aims to continue innovating in the PV solar industry. Fortunately, the future looks bright for manufacturing businesses in Ontario – and this is especially true for those in the renewable energy sector. Generous government incentives, competitive business costs and a diverse, highly skilled workforce are fostering an environment of innovation and unprecedented growth for companies that choose to be a part of it.

Automated production equipment making solar panels


April 26, 2016

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