More solar jobs en route to Royal City

Guelph Mercury: Greg Layson - October 14, 2010

Another manufacturer in the renewable energy sector is coming to Guelph.

Sustainable Energy Technologies, in partnership with Melitron Corp., will make solar inverters in the Royal City.

Solar inverters convert the direct current electricity gathered from a solar panel into the electricity used in the utility grid and also home appliances.

Sustainable Energy Technologies' main North American inverter assembly and test facility will create approximately 60 to 80 jobs in Guelph and, using government estimates, could create a combined 300 direct and indirect jobs.

"We're making a conscious effort to use local suppliers," Sustainable Energy Technologies chief executive Mike Carten said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles, where he was attending the Solar Power International Conference.

"We laid out a good welcome mat for them," Cartwright said.

Carten said Melitron will manage the hiring process and employees.

The companies will seek primarily what Carten called "semi-skilled workers," including assemblers, some accounting staff and some engineers for three shifts he hopes will be up and running by the end of the year.

The city's manager of economic development and tourism Peter Cartwright said the city, including chief administrative officer Hans Loewig and Mayor Karen Farbridge, worked with Sustainable Energy Technologies for six months on firming up the deal.

Carten said Melitron was the single biggest drive behind the choice of Guelph.

"Melitron is a great a partner. They have some really strong capacity and the relationship they were proposing was positive," Carten said.

Melitron in February received $400,000 from the Southern Ontario Development Program.

The money was used to streamline its manufacturing operations and increase productivity.

"This was only possible because of the premier's commitment to bringing new green jobs to the province as part of his Green Energy program," Melitron chief executive Ted Turner said in a media release.

Melitron will provide key components and final assembly and a test facility to Sustainable Energy Technologies, which intends to maintain its subcontracted facility in Cambridge.

Sustainable Energy Technologies is the second alternative energy company within three months to announce plans in Guelph.

Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. announced in August it will open a production facility on Speedvale Avenue which could eventually create up to 500 jobs.

"We're trying to position Guelph as the alternative energy capital of Ontario," Cartwright said.