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U.S. company inks contract with Woodstock firm;

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Woodstock Sentinel-Review: August 4, 2010

An American company that specializes in the installation of solar panel systems has inked a multi-million-dollar contract with a Woodstock-based renewable energy firm.

Woodstock's Aqua Solar Ltd. signed an "affiliate marketing agreement" with the Colorado-based RCI Solar Inc. to take advantage of the province's renewable energy initiatives, specifically the two Feed-In Tariff (FIT) programs. Aqua Solar, which provides solar thermal and photovoltaic products to its Ontario clients, has also agreed to purchase at least $1 million in "product orders" from its new U.S. collaborator.

"We are pleased and excited to partner with a first-class organization such as Aqua Solar," RCI Solar operations manager Jeff Hoogveld said in an Aug. 2 media release. "Th is partnership provides considerable expansion of our product line along with our distribution network, while providing end users with local support, service and maintenance requirements."

Administered by the Ontario Power Authority, The FIT and microFIT programs were introduced in May 2009 to encourage small-and full-scale renewable energy products throughout the province. The programs provide owners with a long-term fixed-price contract for the electricity produced through their renewable energy projects.

The Ontario government hopes to "phase out" coal-fired electricity generation in the next four years.

In addition to being able to supply some of the technology needed for these projects, the two companies, through their affiliation, plan to ink some long-term FIT contracts with the province. The FIT contracts involve projects that generate 10 kilowatts or more of electricity while the microFIT program focuses on the smaller-scale proposals.

"Th is multi-million dollar provincial project can provide guaranteed income for over 20 years for all eligible participants," said Syd Harland, the CEO of Global Earth Energy, RCI's parent corporation. "RCI Solar, through its affiliation with Aqua Solar, is now strategically positioned to capitalize on this major push to bring green energy to our local communities.

"RCI estimates that sales will exceed over $5 million in its first year of operations, with revenue increases of 10% to 15% in the second year and the subsequent years."

Anticipating an increase in Ontario business, RCI Solar announced Tuesday that it had opened a new 1,400- square-metre facility to accommodate its warehousing, distribution and "inventory management" needs.