Proposed solar panel glass plant for Selkirk nearing ‘shovel ready’ status

·2 min read

A proposed manufacturing facility in the city of Selkirk that would be the only one of its kind in North America is one step closer to becoming a reality.

On Monday, Alberta-based Canadian Premium Sand Inc.(CPS) reported the results from their Front End Engineering and Design study, which looked at the economic viability of manufacturing patterned solar glass at a proposed site in Selkirk, a city of about 11,000 residents, that sits about 25 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

“These studies support our decision to build North America’s only patterned solar glass manufacturing facility,” CPS president Glenn Leroux said on Monday in a release, announcing the results of the study.

“The business strategy of integrating our high-quality solar specs, and Manitoba’s inexpensive renewable hydroelectricity, and proximity to our North American customer base through the Winnipeg logistics hub, is a highly attractive business plan that others cannot easily replicate.”

In December of last year, CPS announced they had selected Selkirk to be the new home for a solar glass manufacturing facility, which they said would create approximately 300 jobs and once it is up and running, be the only factory on this continent to produce glass for solar energy.

On Monday, Selkirk CAO Duane Nicol said that the results of the study are a big step towards getting construction underway on the project in Selkirk.

“They have a number of studies and reports to undertake, and this one was a critical one,” Nicol said.

Nicol said the city does not yet have any firm timelines on when construction on the facility could begin but added they have been happy with the way that things have been progressing since the December announcement.

“I do not have a projected start date, but I can say the work is progressing and, as their release notes, the progress has been very positive,” Nicol said.

According to CPS, their market study analyzed the North American market for patterned solar glass, and “confirmed that patterned solar glass panels are the most efficient products on the market, and can be expected to dominate industry demand for the next 20 years.”

CPS also said that since their December announcement of plans to build a plant in Selkirk, they have received “strong levels” of industry support for the project, and said they believe the proposed plant could even see further expansion.

“To date, the company has secured Expressions of Interest for the purchase of solar glass in excess of the first phase of planned facility output,” CPS said.

“Based on the growth profile of the market, and the size of the company-owned silica sand resource, CPS sees the potential to construct up to three additional equally sized manufacturing facilities at the same site.”

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun

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