Rob Henderson, manager of Environmental Services with the Town of Truro, checks out the first group of solar panels that arrived from Austria on Wednesday. The panels are to be used as demonstration units by an Austrian company planning to build a manufacturing facility in the Hubtown. HARRY SULLIVAN - TRURO DAILY NEWS
TRURO - Two tractor-trailer loads of solar panels were delivered to Truro on Wednesday, demonstrating the first physical aspects of a partnership agreement between the town and an Austrian firm.
"They're here. I said they were coming and they're here," Mayor Bill Mills said, as he watched a forklift unload the first pallet of panels on Wednesday morning.
Mills, CAO Jim Langille and business development officer Rob Turner travelled to Austria in September to meet with officials from Hilber Solar during which time a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was established between the town and the company to eventually build a manufacturing plant in Truro to serve the North American market.
The 18 pallets of solar panels that arrived Wednesday are to serve as demonstration units that will be set up by Hilber representatives in the near future, Turner said Wednesday.
"These panels are coming from Hilber in kind as an act of good faith and really as an educational proponent," he said. "We hope, of course, that is before Christmas."
At this point, Turner said, no decision has been made as to where the demonstration solar panels will be placed, although he used several potential sites - the new civic centre, the Truro Farmers' Market and the former landfill site - as examples of where local officials would like to see them situated.
The solar panels designed and manufactured by Hilber are of the photovoltaic power variety, which means they can actually generate electricity.
And Turner said solar-generated electricity is one of the green energy forms that has to be given serious consideration in the future.
"We have to go there," he said. "The price of fossil fuels is really going to make these things more competitive as the years go on."
And while Turner could not offer a precise timeframe for when the manufacturing facility would be built, he said it should be within the next year.
"They say it is going to be a maximum of 70 jobs for this part of the production but as the North American market grows with them the jobs will grow as well," he said.