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Ontario moldmaker hooks up with provincial Feed-in Tariff energy program

It’s not exactly a second vocation, but moldmaker Compact Mould Ltd. has just broken into the energy s...


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August 29, 2010 by Canadian Plastics

Compact Mould's Miguel Petrucci with MPP Dr. Kuldip Kular and Gus Kokkoros of Icarus Power Generation on the Brampton facility rooftop.
Compact Mould's Miguel Petrucci with MPP Dr. Kuldip Kular and Gus Kokkoros of Icarus Power Generation on the Brampton facility rooftop.

It’s not exactly a second vocation, but moldmaker Compact Mould Ltd. has just broken into the energy supply business – starting out not on the ground floor, but on the roof.

The Woodbridge, Ont.-based company recently finished completion of two rooftop solar panel systems – one in Woodbridge and the other at its Brampton facility – as part of the provincial government’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program. Here’s how it works: The photo-voltaic generators will produce solar electricity which the municipalities will then buy from Compact Mould for the fixed price of 80.2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh); Compact Mould can then pay that money towards its own power bill.

SMART IDEA

The rooftop solar PV generator at the Brampton plant was up and running in June, with an official unveiling ceremony held in August attended by Dr. Kuldip Kular, MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton. The PV panels at the Woodbridge facility will be fully outfitted and operational in September. Both generators were paid for in part through Ontario’s new SMART program, created by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters industry association – with funding from the provincial government – to help small- and medium-sized businesses adopt more energy efficient operations. “The total investment for the solar panels was approximately $100,000, one-half of which will be paid for by SMART,” said Compact Mould president Miguel Petrucci. “We received $15,000 from the program up front, and have applied for repayment of the remaining $35,000.”

Run by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), the FIT program is for renewable energy projects that can generate more than 10 kW of electricity to be fed directly into Ontario’s power grid; smaller projects, at a home or small business, that can generate 10 kW or less qualify for the OPA’s microFIT program, under which Compact Mould’s project falls.

“The idea to do this came from our having attended a SMART program seminar,” Petrucci explained. “We applied for the SMART program for funding, and then applied to the OPA for approval of our microFIT project. We then worked with local solar panel developer Icarus Power Generation on the project, with the cities of Woodbridge and Brampton finally approving the plans before we could go ahead with construction.”

LONG-TERM BENEFITS

Space-wise, it’s not a big investment for Compact Mould. The solar panels at the Brampton plant cover 2,000 square feet of a 35,000 square-foot area, and the panels at.Woodbridge will cover approximately 1,250 square feet of a 25,000-square-foot rooftop. The benefits should be bigger. “We expect to be able to pay roughly one-quarter of our own electricity costs through the solar panels,” Petrucci said. “We’ve signed a 20-year contract with the OPA that pays us the guaranteed 80.2 cents per hour kWh. The initial investment in the solar generators was high, but in the long run we’re certain that the incentives and stable prices offered will result in significant savings, as well as revenue for the future of our business.”