Canadian Premium Sand building $880M Solar Glass Manufacturing plant in Manitoba

May 12, 2023
Construction cost of the Canadian Premium Sand glass manufacturing plant is estimated at no more than $880 million. The growth in demand, however, justifies the investment and expanded the production forecast to 800 metric tons per day

Solar panel manufacturers Hanwha, Heliene and Meyer Burger will be offtakers for the majority of solar glass produced at future plant ready to be constructed in Manitoba, Canada.

Canadian Premium Sand Inc. announced the commercial off-take agreements and detailed a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction deal to build the patterned solar glass manufacturing plant in the city of Selkirk. Pre-construction engineering and design work is completed on the facility which is projected to produce up to 800 metric tons per day of solar glass.

Construction cost of the Canadian Premium Sand glass manufacturing plant is estimated at no more than $880 million. The growth in demand, however, justifies the investment and expanded the production forecast from an earlier 550 metric tons per day, the company said.

“With strong revenue visibility through binding commercial off-take agreements and a high degree of certainty with capital costs and operational performance through our EPC agreement we are confident in our ability to commercialize this high return project, supporting the global energy transition,” Glenn Leroux, president and CEO of Canadian Premium Sand Inc. said in a statement. “With our recent additions of industry expertise to the team, we look forward to a successful financing process that capitalizes our project and enables the delivery of our exciting business plan.”

The move follows up on the expanded growth potential of the clean energy manufacturing footprint in North America, thanks to initiatives from Canada and also the incentives from the Inflation Reduction and Infrastructure Acts in the United States.

Hanwha, through its Qcells division, is focused on expanding its domestic solar panel manufacturing footprint. The company is allocating $2.66 billion to expand the production capacity in Georgia from 1.7 GW to 8.4 GW by next year.

Swiss-based Meyer Burger has announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in Arizona to produce 2 GW in solar panel capacity annually. The panel firm signed a “significant” offtake agreement with retailer Ikea earlier this month.

Canada’s Heliene, with operations in Ontario and Minnesota, is doubling its manufacturing capacity to 2 GW, according to reports.

The EPC consortium leading the Canadian Premium Sand manufacturing site construction includes PCL Constructors Canada Inc. and Henry F. Teichmann Inc. Pre-construction design work is completed.

The Selkirk plant, once operational, will be configured to produce a range of patterned solar glass, including 3.2-mm front-glass for the residential and commercial rooftop markets, as well as 2-mm glass for the bifacial utility market. No timeline was given for construction start or completion.

The domestic solar supply chain is ramping up quickly if it continues recent momentum. Last year, about 20.2 GW of solar capacity was installed in the U.S. to reach more than 142 GW of total installed capacity, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association

Residential solar achieved a record year in 2022 with 6 GW of installation, the SEIA report showed. The total U.S. market should quintuple through this decade to more than 700 GW by 2033, according to the group.

Last year, utility and energy infrastructure owner AES Corp. announced it partnered with U.S. solar developers Clearway Energy Group, Cypress Creek Renewables and D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments to form the US Solar Buyer Consortium, aimed at expanding the domestic solar supply chain and support the US solar industry growth. The consortium is purchasing more than $6 billion of solar panels and seek manufacturers aligned with its goal of supplying up to 7 GW of solar modules annually from 2024.

AES already had a backlog of 10.3 GW of solar projects worldwide, as of last year. A total of 3.4 GW of new projects in the U.S. will come online from 2022 to 2025. In 2021, AES signed power purchase agreements for 5 GW of renewable energy, including 1.4 GW of solar projects in the U.S. It has a total development pipeline of 59 GW, of which 68% is in the U.S.

U.S.-based module market First Solar Inc. late last year announced plans to locate its fourth American manufacturing facility in Alabama. The Lawrence County facility’s expected annual output would be 3.5 GW of generation capacity, pushing First Solar’s full U.S. manufacturing footprint to more than 10 GW by 2025.

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(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 15-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]).

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About the Author

Rod Walton, EnergyTech Managing Editor | Senior Editor

For EnergyTech editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

Rod Walton has spent 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. He formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

Walton earned his Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. His career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World. 

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

He was named Managing Editor for Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech starting July 1, 2023

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.