Arrival of solar panels from Austria signify ‘good faith' testimony of manufacturing factory to follow

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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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.

Organizations: North American

Geographic location: TRURO, Austria

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Recent comments

  • janice
    November 19, 2012 - 15:44

    In a place as small as the Maritimes, I'd think there would only be room for 1 solar panel manufacturer.... and I was right! There's a plant in Dartmouth owned by a company called ThermoDynamics Ltd that has been running for several decades.

  • Jeff Johnston
    Jeff Johnston
    November 19, 2012 - 15:11

    There are all kinds of free energy technologies that are being suppressed . And oil and gas would be a lot cheaper if it wasn't for the artificial scarcity . Solar is a distraction and a suckers market , economically impractical and dependent on government subsidies . Their subsidies are being cut back in Europe so they are looking for new suckers . They seem to have no problem finding them in Truro . Now in addition to spending 50 millions dollars on a skating rink so we can be the home base for a Halifax Team , we are now bailing out companies from Austria . And wind farms destroy health . How dare they set them up . All these selfish people living in sin looking for ways to validate themselves . They should repent and give cash to the poor . Judgement is coming !

  • it is too bad.
    November 15, 2012 - 13:50

    many states and some provinces have huge solar in school programs that allow school boards to both save and make money from their roof tops via solar panel installations. There are school districts out West using saw mill waste that was converted into pellet fuels to heat schools. We have had one pellet factory close in the local area and four in Atlantic Canada begging governments to use their product. These products makes sense with minor support. Schools have two months of the year where no electricity is used practically and they can contribution all they produce to the grid. The problem for solar makers is China is dumping their PV panels onto the world market for less then cost that others can make them at. Dave the difference between this solar company and DSMe is Hilber seems to have had a 20 year history making their product while DSME has not experience in Wind turbines and nothing new that Vestas, Enercom, GE Seimens and a wraft of other decades old turbine companies dont provide. The Dexter Government is the very worse at entering into something they dont research.

  • Skeptic Al
    November 15, 2012 - 13:13

    A lot of important issues have been raised in this discussion. The days of 'trust us, we're doing important stuff that you'll learn about after all the money has been spent and decisions made' are over (or should be). So far, things like this initiative and the civic centre (RECC) seem to chug along, run into some questions (often based on lack of accurate information) and then we see a condescending one-sided press release from the insiders. What we need is ongoing communication that is two way for big projects; not just PR. It would build buy-in, prevent wasteful spending, and generate real community.

  • Sir
    November 15, 2012 - 12:41

    In Germany energy prices will rise massively in 2013. 3.5 €-cents (4.5 canada cents) cents per Kwh. An increase of 13% announced by Vattenfall who is a big energy supplier. 3 €-cents is only because of the high costs for "green" energy. At the moment one Kwh cost in Germany round about 25 €-cents (32 canada cents) + a base price of 5 € (6.5 $)monthly for being conected to the grid. Do you really want this here? A latest study from switzerland showed that you have to invest much more energy on a solar panel than it brings theoretically after 25 years and you have a lot of hazard waste then. I think it would be better to get all the facts before installing such things.

  • PJ
    November 15, 2012 - 10:32

    The solar panels designed and manufactured by Hilber are of the photovoltaic power variety, which means they can actually generate electricity. What the heck would be the purpose of solar panel if they could not generate electricity? This MOU should be made public - or is this another of Mr. Mill 's secret deals. And Kevin is right about NS Power being required to purchase excess energy to get us off dirty fuels (like the US is doing).

  • NoFool
    November 15, 2012 - 08:50

    All excellent questions and comments. This sounds like another one of Mills' Pie in the Sky ideas. Are we going to give this company tax dollars and then see it high tail it back to Europe?? Too many questions with very little scrutiny. I pray the new councillors of town council ask hard questions!!!

  • Skeptic Al
    November 15, 2012 - 07:28

    Sounds great and I hope it pans out. But a few questions come to mind: What does 'coming in kind' mean here? Do they now belong to Truro or are they demos belonging to the company? Are we expected to purchase them at some point? Who pays for their installation and all the other expensive components of a working system? We live in a mediocre solar-days zone. If we have to buy a lot of gear to match these, what is the return of investment period? Are Moncton and Amherst still vying for this company? Why are there reports that the company has declared insolvency ( When did Truro get a Business Development Officer? Was the job posted in a fair process? What is his salary? Does this affect the money that we are paying for the same thing to CoRDA? Again, these are questions that may have positive answers, making this a win win, but we need to go a bit deeper than the article does to be able to celebrate this news.

  • Kevin
    November 15, 2012 - 07:16

    Should be interesting! I just wish NS Power would actually pay you for the power you use, instead of zeroing out your bill. That is one of the big hurdles to have to manage, as if I generate more than I use I can't be compensated. I look forward to inexpensive solar hot water, though.

  • dave
    November 15, 2012 - 06:07

    ...and after a quick google search i see as of october 31st the company is insolvent .

  • dave
    November 15, 2012 - 06:05

    and just how is that other "alternate energy" company doing in new glasgow these days?? and how much will the tax payer have to fork over for this "feel good" farce.